Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
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Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 11" x 8"
Flag Size (H x L): 5.5" x 3"
Stevensgraph ribbon, made between 1901 and 1912, with a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt. The image is patterned after the photograph taken by Pach Bros. of New York, copyrighted in 1900. This is the primary image used in the presidential campaign of that year, in T.R.’s successful run for Vice President with incumbent President William McKinley. Executed in black thread on a white ground, his signature appears along the bottom and the maker’s name is woven along the top edge. This reads: “National Ribbon Company, Paterson, New Jersey.” There is a pulled work fringe along the lower edge.

The technology to weave these highly detailed silk textiles was developed during the mid-19th century by several makers in Germany, Switzerland, France, and England. The most prolific of these was Thomas Stevens, a weaver in Coventry, England, who adapted a Jacquard loom to weave colorful pictures from silk around 1862. In that year he was producing four different designs and by the late 1880's he had approximately 900. Many were bookmarks, but there were greeting cards, postcards, and other formats.

In America, production began soon afterwards in the city of Paterson, with several manufacturers then expanding elsewhere with satellite locations. Most were signed. After the turn of the 20th century, production tapered off quickly, having pretty much ended by WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-1918). Somewhat similar examples are known for both Teddy’s cousin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, made in the patriotism of WWII (U.S. involvement 1941-45), but these are definitely outliers.

This particular ribbon was probably produced for a variety of purposes, not limited to the general patriotic use during the era of T.R.'s presidency (1901-1909), the 1904 election specifically and possibly 1912, sale or distribution at events surrounding or glorifying Teddy's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, or events associated with the Great White Fleet (1907-1909), or at World's Fairs.

The National Ribbon Company was an outgrowth of the textile interests of George F. Kuett, who entered the industry in 1884 with Jacob Horandt at the Dale Mill in Paterson, operating under the name Kuett & Horandt. The partnership operated for six years until Kuett moved to Vreeland Ave. and constructed a mill for the Paterson Ribbon Company with partners Cole and Hollingsworth. This firm dissolved in 1900 and in the same year Kuett opened the National Ribbon Company with new partners, Mueller & Dipple. Though Kuett passed in 1908, the firm continued for several decades. According to Mueller’s death notice, that appeared in the Oct. 3rd, 1947 edition of the Brooklyn Eagle, it was defunct by that year.

It is of significant interest to note that specific history of the use of what was very likely this precise variety of Stevensgraph ribbon, just two years before George Kuett’s death, was recorded in the Dec. 13th, 1906 edition of the Washington (D.C.) Evening Star. An except of the article, which records Kuett’s attendance at the Annual Meeting of Homing Pigeon Fanciers, reads as follows:

“The banquet was presided over by Mr. Alex Bain, who in a masterly style introduced the various speakers, whose responses to toasts have never been equaled. At each plate was an unusually artistic picture of President Roosevelt, woven in silk, the gift of Mr. Geo. F. Kuett, owner of the National Ribbon Company, …”

Mounting: The gilded American molding dates to the period between roughly 1820 and 1850. To this a modern, rippled profile molding, black with gold highlights, was added as a cap. The textile has been hand-stitched to 100% cotton, black in color, that was washed and treated for colorfastness. Spacers keep the textiles away from the glazing, which is U.V. protective glass.

Condition: There is a bit of loss in the pulled work fringe, and the top corners were trimmed, almost certainly by a former owner, in the period, which is not of importance and does not detract from its value.
Collector Level: Beginners and Holiday Gift Giving
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1901
Latest Date of Origin: 1912
State/Affiliation: New Jersey
War Association: 1898 Spanish American War
Price: SOLD

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