Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Music & Instruments For All Ages

"2 transverse flutes" - 1700


The Following is a list of references for music from New York to the frontier. While not an exhaustive list of instruments in New York the following can show us that the region was not shying from music and dance. Parties were not unusual for the average person nor were balls for the politicos.

But this first inventory is interesting because we can see that even on the frontier of Schohary we can't do without culture, music and a good old time ! 


Nov 25th, 1773, Peter V. Ziellie
Late of Schohary in the County of Albany sold at Venue: 
1 Violine to Dennis Eckeser? 0:12:0

The above violin was sold for less than a pound in cash, making it more affordable than a suit, or even a jacket. Music as far as affordability goes was accessible. It is likely more so finding a teacher that would have prevented anyone from playing.



The 18th Century: From Organs and Spinets, to German Flutes and Bassoons: 

Mid-Century was a popular time for the learning or playing of instruments. A number of advertisement were posted for violins, German flutes, fifes and other instruments. German flutes are particularly popular. During the 17th Century the largest population demographic was Dutch, then Germanic people. New York takes in German immigrants on a regular basis possibly due to their ease of integration (as compared to assimilation) into a colony with a preexisting Central European culture. Below are some examples of advertisements from 1749 to 1775. 

Daniel & Philip Pelton, Drums Made and sold by Phillip Pelton, upper end of Queen-street, and by Daniel Pelton, in Chappel street, now called Beekman street, equal to any that have been imported for sound or beauty. As said Persons have great variety on hand any gentlemen may be served at the shortest notice, and on the most reasonable terms. The purchaser may depend upon having their Drums tun'd to sound well.—The New-York Journal or the General Advertiser, October 5, 1775.
John Sheiuble....N.B. He has now ready for sale, one neat chamber organ, one hammer spinnet, one common spinnet.—The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, October 10, 1774. F
Robert Horne, Musical Instrument-Maker, from London, on Golden-Hill, near Burling's Slip, Makes and repairs musical instruments, viz. Violins, tennors, violon-cellos, guittars, kitts, aeolus harps, spinnets, and spinnets jacks, violin bows, tail-pieces, pins, bridges; bows hair'd, and the best Roman Strings, &c. N.B. Country stores supply'd on the shortest notice.—The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, January 6, 1772.
David Wolhaupter, Takes this method to inform his friends and customers, that he has removed from the place he formerly lived, to the house where Mr. Muller, leather breeches maker, formerly lived, nearly opposite the Flattenbarrack-Hill, in the Broadway; where he makes and mends all sorts of musical instruments, such as basoons, German flutes, Common do. hautboys, clarinets, fifes, bagpipes, &c. also makes and mends all sorts of mathematical instruments, and all sorts of tuning work done by said Wolhaupter. Any gentlemen that will please to favour him with their employ, may depend upon being served at the cheapest rate, by their humble servant.—The New-York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, June 18, 1770.
Simeon Coley.—Just imported in the ships Edward and Hope, from London, and to be sold cheap by Simeon Coley, Silver-smith, near the Merchant's Coffee house; A Large assortment of jewellery, diamond, garnet, and other rings; the neatest paste & stone buckels, garnet and paste necklaces, ear rings, egrets and solatiers, ditto neat etwe cases, silver-handle knives and forks in cases, ivory ditto, neat small swords, and cutteau de chase, and sword belts, great variety of pocket books for gentlemen and ladies, silver and other watches, ditto chains, neat clocks in mahogany cases, best gilt and other buckels, masons broaches and jewels, gold buttons and seals, silver ditto, neat tortise-shell snuff-boxes and smelling bottles, plated bits, and stirrups, best violins, german and common flutes, fifes, aeolus harps, hand organs, and a variety of other articles.—The New-York Mercury, October 5, 1767. 
Charles Shipman, Ivory and Hardwood Turner, lately from England: Takes this Method to acquaint all ladies, gentlemen, &c. that having served a regular apprenticeship to a very considerable Turning Manufactory in Birmingham; he purposes carrying on that business here, in all the various undermentioned articles;... Cruet frames repair'd and German flutes tip'd in the neatest manner, oval picture frames, and sundry other articles too tedious to mention.—The New-York Journal or the General Advertiser, August 6, 1767.
Robert Horne, Musical Instrument-Maker, from London, at Mr. Francis Cooley's, on Golden-Hill; Makes and repairs Violins, bass viols, tenor viols, Æolius harps, gauiters, German flutes, Kitts, violin bows, &c. in the neatest and compleatest manner. All orders punctually obey'd, with the quickest dispatch;: The favour of Gentlemen and Ladies shall be duly honour'd with their Commands. N.B. Merchants may be supplied with any of the above, cheaper than in London on proper notice given.—The New-York Mercury, September 14, 1767. 
Jacob Trippell, Musical Instrument Maker from London, at the House of Mr. John Ent, Watchmaker, opposite to, on the West Side of the Old Slip Market, a few Doors below Duyckinck's Corner, makes and repairs all sorts of Violins, Base and Tenor Viols; English and Spanish Guitters, Loutens, Mentelines, Madores, and Welsh Harps, at reasonable Rates, as neat as in Europe, Having work'd at the Business Nine Years, with the best Hands in London, since I left Germany; I shall Endeavour to Give Satisfaction to those Ladies and Gentlemen, that shall favour me with their Custom.—The New-York Gazette, August 24, 1767.
Gottlieb Wolhaupter, living at the Sign of the Musical Instrument-Maker, opposite Mr. Adam Vanderberg's has just imported from London, a Choice Parcel of the best English Box-wood; Where he continues to make and mend, all Sorts of Musical Instruments, such as German Flutes, Hautboys [Oboes], Clareonets, Flageolets  'fipple' flute] , Bassoons, Fifes, and also Silver Tea-Pot Handles.—The New-York Gazette, November 16, 1761. 
Mathematical Instrument Maker.—The late invented and most curious Instrument call'd an Octant, for taking the Latitude or other Altitudes at Sea, with all other Mathematical Instruments for Sea or Land, compleatly made by Anthony Lamb in New-York: where all Persons may be supply'd with German Flutes, and sundry other small Works in Wood, Ivory, or Brass, and Books of Navigation; and a proper Direction given with every Instrument. Ready Money for curious hard Wood, Ivory, Tortois-Shell, and old Brass.—The New-York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy, January 23, 1749.



The 17th Century: Transverse Flutes, Recorders, Fiddles, Drums, Trumpets and Bells:


As mentioned in a previous post one can purchase up to "30 knots of fiddle strings" on Long Island in 1691.  Later, the New York  governor (1720-1728) William Burnet has a "large Violin or Tenor Fidle" in his inventory. Tenor violins or tenor fiddles, are what English called the viola. Flutes also make an appearance at the turn of the century. 


The following was written in the inventory for Jan Cock.


Est. 1699-1701 based on preceding and post wills and inventories. 

Inventory of the state left by Jan Cock, a young man who by the bursting of a cannon in their majesties fort at Albany was killed on the 9th of February 16th, when the French destroyed Schenectady, made by Albert 'Ryckman' and Jan Lansing, aldermen of the city of Albany.  
Inventory of Jan and Widow Katelyntie Cock
2 transverse flutes 

1664 - Beverwijk (Albany) 
Inventory of Jan Gerritsen van Macken a farmer and sometimes collector of liquor taxes 
20 children hats, both girls and boys hats
some "hansioos" jewelry
10 wooden recorders

It seems that New Yorkers enjoyed banging on things as part of their New Years celebrations. Stuyvasent was quick to make it illegal to shoot guns randomly into the air but also: 

"Therefore, in order to prevent such in the future the director general and council expressly forbid henceforth shooting and planting of May poles on New Year and May days within this province of New Netherland; also, any noise making with drums or dispensing of any wine, ....and this only to prevent further accidents and trouble, for a fine of 12 guilders for the first time, doubled for the second time and arbitrary punishment for the third time;...Dated the end of December 1655, and renewed the 30th of December 1658." - Laws and Write of Appeals, 1647 - 1663. 

Also in the Laws and Write of Appeals:



"The director general, Petrus Stuyvesant, as captain of his company, observing that the last issued order, dated 7 October 1655, concerning the appearance before the colors at the beat of the drum, and the posting of and remaining on guard, is not observed and obeyed by the superior and inferior officers as it ought to be, and as is customary in all garrisons; therefore, notifies and commands all officers and soldiers of his com many:..." 

In 1648, Both Pieter Leendersz and Albert Pieterson were "Trumpeters" living in New Netherland. Plus Hendrick Jansen Sluyter, was a drummer, in 1654. The New Netherland merchants Mordakey and Captain "Beauline" made sure even babies and toddlers got in on the fun. They acquired items from the Caribbean and then shipped them north. These are the same two merchants Mordakey and Captain "Beauline" who purchased and sold the Venetian pearls. While the harps are not meant for children, the bells are. Below is an excerpt. 


Account left by Mr. Josua and Mordakey Emriques, 1st January 1656 



4 gross of rattles are 48 dozen that cost me a 200 lb sack of sugar per gross. That comes to a 17 lb. sack of sugar per dozen. 


Cont. Summary         October 28th 1656,                           April 23rd 1659
In Curacao                Captain "Beauline" Receives:           Sold since receipt:              
               ---                        20 dozen and 11 Jews harps        12 dozen and 11 at 8 st[ivers] a dozen
800 Rattles                19 dozen copper bells                      19 dozen at 8 st. a dozen




Thursday, March 29, 2018

Salem Pouris: Calico Fabric in Solid Blue or Plain White

4 1/4  [ells of] Pouris Blue Calico 0.3.8 - 1722

There is a reenactor conundrum where someone wants to use cotton fabric in order to make a historically correct outfit on a budget, and they are told to only use cotton that comes in prints, checks or stripes. This is because of the huge number of surviving examples of cotton fabrics in museums or private collections that are chintz and calicos patterns. The designs preserved in surviving garments and textiles are almost always in at least two shades or two or more colors, but almost none are in solid (plain) colors.



Intro: 

There has been some confusing information out there in fashion history books that do not line up with economic history books. It is not unusual for fashion history books to claim that solid colored 100% cotton (both cotton warp and cotton weft) fabrics did not exist. However, economic history books not only claim that they did exist but they were being shipped around the world. One particular inventory from New York City demonstrates that it even existed in America. Why all the confusion? 


There are two reasons; terminology and the customer demographic. Much of it has to do with technical terms being used for specific fabrics by weavers and merchants while laymen's terms are being used by shopkeepers and end customer. A merchant needs to be accurate in their letters and purchase orders, learning very quickly that they will receive the wrong item if the exact term is not used. Bills of lading are less descriptive but useful. This is what we see happen with solid blue 100 % cotton fabric. The technical term or term used in merchant purchase orders and bills of lading is "Salempouris" by the French and "Salempuris" by the Dutch. The second reason is customer demographic, of which there were at least three. The Dutch in the Golden Age were curious about the world, had a middle class with 64% of people working non-agrigrarian jobs, and could afford the importation of both the cheap calicos in solid colors and the more expensive painted versions. Salempouris continues to be imported to the Netherlands and greater Low Countries region from the 17c through the 19c. Salempouris or "course blue cotton" was being imported by an American Dutchmen in 1651 and sold by a Dutchwoman in 1722. The second customer demographic are the free people of Africa, Asia, some America Indigenous people, and those in English New York. The third customer demographic are people of African heritage in bondage, who prized the blue cloth of their motherland. For people in bondage, the blue cloth was part of their ethnic identity.  


While it is tempting to call salempouris blue or white a slave trade fabric, the "guinees" blue or white was actually used specifically for this purpose. Guinees could also come in more varieties, usually check or striped. It is likely that if a solid (or plain) blue or white was called "guinees", it was really a Salempouris. Noting also, that Salempouris increased in quality over time. Also, "plain" is the key word historically, rather than "solid". Salempouris is sometimes used in the slave trade as payment and as clothing, though it was also worn by free people in the Low Countries, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It was favored outside of the slave trade, and interestedly crossed classes and incomes. 



Manuscript from 'Tashrih al-aqvam, India Early 19th Century.  






Salempouris and the African Trade:


Salempouris comes in only two forms "blanc" and "blew", bleached white or solid blue, and is named for the town of origin, Salem. This is in contrast to a fabric such as "guinees" which is named for the destination place in Africa and also comes in "blanc" and "blew". The solid blue or white salempouris was not expensive, was very affordable and perfect for New York's hot humid weather. 


"How India Clothed the World", Edited by Riello, Roy, Prakash and Sugihara, Global Economic History Series by Brill. 
Salempouris: A broad cotton cloth produced in the Coromandel Coast, usually white or blue, between 14 and 16 metres long and about 1 meter wide, with thread counts ranging from 50 to 90 threads per inch. These cloths were among the most common cloths exported from South India by the English, Dutch and French companies during the seventeenth and eighteenth century
Muris:  Plain [blue] cotton cloths about 8 to 9 meters long and about 1.3 meters wide, with thread counts ranging from 70 to 90 threads per inch and sometimes as high as 130 thread per inch for very fine cloth

We can see below that it was popular in Senegal along with other African regions too. The same book explains that a supplier could trade poor quality pepper for either counterfeit goods, blue cotton cloth from India, painted Indians, or white cotton canvas. The link below is a free google books copy. It is an amazing resource.


Dictionnaire universel de commerce, d'histoire naturelle et des arts et metiers

Philemon-Louis Savary, 1742
Commerce Du Senegal
Toiled Basta "bleu", & "Salempouris", de 12 aunes & demi a la piece, ............6100p

Grand Sestre, & Coste De Malaguette, ou Maniguette
Ce poivre est beaucoup plus acre que celui des Indes Orientales; mais il y peut supplier, quand les retours de la flore Orientale de Hollande n'ont pas et e heureux en cette marchandise; & alors il y a beaucoup a gagner, ce poivre ne s'achetant le quintal que 3 liv. en marchandise "contrebordee" jeune & noir, ou noir & blanc; ou en toiled de cotton "bleues" de Indes, nommées Salempouris; en Indiennes "peintes", ou en toiles de coton blanc. 
This pepper is much more acrid than that of the East Indies; but the supplier may beg, when the returns of the Oriental flora of Holland have not been happy in this commodity; & then there is much to gain, this pepper only buying the quintal 3 liv. in counterfeit goods young & black, or black & white; or in cotton cloth "blue" from India, named Salempouris; in "painted" Indians, or in white cotton canvas. 

A study mentioning Salempouris can be found in "The textile industry and the economy of south india". Plus, Salempouris is spoken about in detail in "Dutch-Asiatic Trade 1620-1740" by Glamann, page 146. 

"The supply of coarse [cotton] fabrics has also been unsatisfactory. It was especially the gathering of "guinees" and salempouris on the Coromandel Coast that failed [in the 1690s due to interlopers]. The Directors suggested that it should be attempted to transfer the production of these goods to Bengal, or if possible, to supplement the deficiency on the Coast." 

By about the 1690s, the English had opportunities to displace some of the Dutch trade in India by paying for the finished textiles before they were made. This is compared to how the Dutch did business which was to supply the weavers with "free" cotton, then choose higher quality finished products when the textiles were finished. The only issue with paying upfront was that the English took the good with the bad in one bale. 


Here we can see the ship's bills of lading on their return trips from India to Amsterdam in 1732 & 1733. 


30 December 1732
Carga, or Ladinge, of four East Indian Return ships, to we ten, Oostrust and Meermond, to the Chamber of Amsterdam, Wickenburg and Schuitwyk, to the Chamber of Zeeland: on the 30 December 1732. van Ceilon left.
19140 ps. Salempouris divers.

Done in the Hage den 20 July 1733. 
In this month there are several East Indian Return ships in the Ports of these Countries arrived, of which the next Cargaas are seen. Carga, or Ladinge, of seven East Indian Return ships, namely, Stadwyk, 't Hof not altyd Winter, and Geertruid, for the Amsterdam Chamber; Meyenburg and Westcapel for the Zeeland Chamber, Maria-Adriana, for the Rooms Delft and Rotterdam; the Cornelia, for the Chambers Hoorn and Enkhuisen: they had left from Batavia on November 30, 1732.
9960 ps Salempouris 
11 May 1733 
On the 11th of this month, in the evening at 7 o'clock, the Queen of Vrankryk happily gave birth to a Princess. On the 19th, April and 4th May, arrived in the Port of Orient, the Ships the Mars, the Duke of Chartres, and the Attalante, of Mocha, and Pondichery, their load consists in:

6400 stuks Guinees divers.
9360 stuks Salempouris divers.
26537 stukken witte [white] Salempouris.
30090 st. witte [white] Gninees.
5358 st blaauwe [blue] Salempouris.
3900 st blauwe [blue] Guinees.

Salempouris, is not expensive. It is actually a cheap affordable fabric, though the color was sought after, the prices do not reflect the popularity. It is likely because such huge volumes were made. "Guinees"- which were woven in many different towns in India - were valued at about twice that of Salempouris. As the table below shows, the cotton fabrics from India were able to hold their prices compared to silks which became more and more affordable in the Netherlands in part due to the Dutch specializing in luxury fabrics, they were able to reduce the price. Silk and Calico become so affordable in the Netherlands and due to the ties many New York merchants had with Holland, that they are found in most wardrobes. 

Calico textiles of a variety of types were in wealthy merchants, middle class tradesmen, and the working class inventories in New York. 




"Dutch-Asiatic Trade 1620-1740" by Glamann, page 284, 285, 286.  
            Persian Silk      Bengali Silk    Chinese Silk    Salempouris    Guinees
            fl. per pound         same               same             fl. per piece      same 


1698         8.45                 11.89             14.90                 8.66               21.10
          1700           -                      7.97               9.30                 8.20               21.40
          1705           -                  -                         6.62                 8.66               19.25 
          1706         5.30
 1731           -                      5.85                 -                     7.75               16.50



South America: Venezuela and the Caribbean


While looking around for sources, I came upon this quote from a Dutch WIC employee looking to establish relations with the indigenous population of South America. He mentions the flow of goods to and from the Caribbean, which is possibly how he received in the salempouris. However, it also provides one example of how solid blue cotton was used.



May 5th, 1769 - List of Goods which I have advanced on behalf of the West India Company at the Post of Cuyuni [post van 'Coejanie'], in payment of 'togas' to the 'Indiejanen'. Hired five 'Indiejanen' to fell, bum, clean, and plant a bread-garden; paid to each 'Indiejan' 'live' yards salempouris, two woodsman's knives, two mirrors, tow fine razors, two shears, two trumpets, two fine combs, two coarse combs, some pins and needles, some steel hooks, three strings of beads [ die mast 'cralen'], two strings fine black beads, and one string fine white beads - this is payment for one garden. 

January 31st, 1774 - The common Caribs (Indigenous Chiefs) having already been sufficiently rewarded at the time of the revolt, [with hats and silver tipped canes because the Indigenous chiefs no longer desired the large silver breast plates of which they had many. We have, after due deliberation....[concluded] that it would be best to divide the salempouris and other trinkets amongst the Honorable Company's slaves who also distinguished themselves on that occasion, and who are therefore making continual and daily applications for rewards and presents. 
The above quotes are from "British Guiana Boundary: Arbitration with the United States of Venezuela", Volume IV, 1769-1781, Published Unknown. 

Splinter's Inventory:

New Netherland inventories are very helpful because they tend to be very particular often including a color and the textile, this trait mellows but seems to be carried forward into the New York colony in the July 1722 inventory of "Gertye" (Wessells) Splinter. Splinter was the widow of the cordwainer Abraham Splinter (B. 1684 - D. 1721). They are found to be witness to a baptism of Brent who's parents were Jacob Brat and "Aefje" Wessels, held in the Dutch reformed church. While Abraham was a shoemaker with his workroom noted as a separate room from the shop, Gertye appears to have ran the store. In her shop located in New York City we see the following:


25 1/2...yards Cotton 2/p          2.11.0
2 Ps.....'Callicoa' 10/ p ps          4.16.0
52.........Cotton handkerchiefs   4.11.0
4 1/4.....Pouris Blue "Callicoa"   0.03.8
5...........yards Blue "Linnon"       0.13.1 1/2
4 1/4.....yards Striped Cotton e Linnon [the stripe is cotton] 0.2.10
4 1/4.....[pounds?] Cotton Yarn   0.08.6
100.......L Cotton Wool                4.03.4


Sometimes, when a solid colored fabric is mentioned as being "cotton" it is pointed out that the town of Kendal in England made what was termed "Kendal Cotton" which is a brushed fuzzy wool fabric. The recorder of Splinter's inventory used the popular term "Pouris" to ensure the reader understood that this was cheap blue dyed 100% cotton, not to be mistaken for more expensive woolen, linen, painted calico, printed calico or just plain calico in white. The blatant use of "cotton" for the cotton handkerchief avoids the term calico and any implications of printing all together. 

We can see in the following inventory that local merchants who imported goods, such as Lisbet van Eps of Albany 1683 made distinctions between her fabrics. The original inventory is in Dutch. The Dutch did not have the term "Cotton" for wool fabrics. However, in the inventory below, we can see that when cotton was used for a wool, she simply used the term Kendal cotton.


5 3/4 el.........Carsey
6 1/2 el.........Fine Laken
2 ps..............'Blauen' Bay
11 el..............Kendal Cotton
91 el..............'Blau' Cotton
20 1/4 el........'geprint' [printed] Cotton
3 1/4 el..........sits [chintz]
1....................Cotton petticoat
1....................Cotton chimney valance

What is great about Van Eps's inventory as it shows that there was a distinction between "cotton wool" which is a brushed wool and cotton from the plant. It also shows that there is a difference between for instance "cotton", "blue cotton", "printed cotton" and "chintz cotton" so we know that the "blue cotton" is not printed nor chintz leaving few other options of what it could be. The "1 cotton petticoat" is not kendal cotton wool, nor a chintz or printed calico. It is likely simply white. 

An 1683 inventory from NYC shows the following, "4 ell of Painted Calico", "8 ells of striped calico", and "11 ells and a quarter of 'Cours' blew Calico", "6 ells and a quarter of Painted Calico" and "one painted flowered cotton "cloat" for a chest". Here we can see a distinction is made between painted, striped and "coarse blue calico".  Due to the quote mentioned in "Dutch-Asiatic Trade 1620-1740" above we know that Pouris is referred to historically as a "coarse fabric".  

The above gives us two good references in NYC plus a maybe in Albany. 


What can white or blue cotton be used for? 

White is the easier of the two as it is found in aprons, drawers, shirts, handkerchiefs, cravats, caps, under petticoats (Image), waistcoats ( Image ), linings (Image )  ... and stockings ( Image ) in New York inventories whether in big cities or small towns. White cotton is being used everywhere white linen is being used... but to a lessor extent. A number of garments in solid white cotton fabric have survived in the Netherlands, in part because they were embroidered, used as children's clothing or as lining. So far, I have seen few garments that have survived with solid blue cotton fabric in museums. There are three 1750-1800 garments lined in solid blue cotton in the Netherlands. There is one very late 1775-1800 dressing robe with a blue cotton lining. The lining can be seen at the neck, though not easily, enough so that it can be seen that it matched the exterior blue, Image. 

Items labels "blue", "white" or "cotton" turn up early in inventories, however, blue linen and white cotton turn up more than blue cotton. This said, there happened to be a small merchant who died while importing a bulk load of shoes, canes, caps and "blue cotton".


Museum Rotterdam: 1750-1775: Pair of mittens of white cotton with border work





Inventories:

Idea Stoffelsen ran her own sheep wool farm and was the wife of the Commissary of Store for the WIC. Her 1641 inventory shows "4 new blue cotton aprons". Had these been made from printed calico the recorder would have likely stated "4 new blue sits aprons", sits is chintz. Blew aprons whether from linen or cotton was not unusual during the 17th century. In 1651, we can see "One package of blue cotton" in the inventory of Jacob Rooy who was importing a shipment with shoes, canes and, "...3 boys caps, one pair of green stockings, four remnants, or pieces of cotton,...". Again, if this was printed it would be labeled as so because painted and printed calicos cost more. Also, if this was an expensive import from England it would have been mentioned. Both above inventories were in Dutch which helps with the "Katoen" vs. "Kendal Cotton" issue. 


White Cotton Lining: A long jacket for women called a "went­ke" specific to the Netherlands, 1725 - 1750, Nederlands Openluchtmuseum: Lining in white cotton: Vrouwenjas of ‘wentke’ van Indiase sits uit circa 1725-1750, gedragen in Hindeloopen. De jas is gevoerd met wit katoen. 









The 1651 inventory of  Jan Jansen Damen includes "1 cotton cravat,...2 reels of spun cotton" and knitted items. Cotton for children is also seen, 1657, Kit Davidts at Fort Orange, "7 cotton swathing cloths". The 7 cotton drawers found in the 1685 inventory of van Horen were likely white calico or salempouris blanc, of these "three calico white drawers" belonged to her husband. Van Horen's inventory also mentioned "5 pairs of white calico stockings". Also, in their chamber we get a sense on how they used their cotton and linen fabrics, "2 'paire' women Calico gloves", "8 ditto long 'Callico' 'Towells'", "16 curtains of 'Linnen' before glass windows", "2 ditto Calico Striped", "11 'callico' 'smoks'", "13 mens shirts calico", "3 linen mens shirts", "3 linen sheets...", "1 ditto [calico] spread lined with white calico". While it is possible it became fashionable to wear printed shifts and shirts, they were more likely plain white. The pair of women's Calico gloves however were possibly printed as a number of women's gloves have survived in printed/ painted calico in European museums. Alternatively, we see in the same inventory "2 'blew' calico mix checker valance"... or blue striped checkered on white background.


A Cotton men's shirt dated at the center front to "1764", Nederlands Openluchtmuseum


Cotton men's shirt from the Kampereiland. The number 12 shows that this shirt was part of a set of 12 shirts. The shirt was made in 1764 and it belonged to a man with the initials 'D R'.






Both men and women had "shirts" and "undershirts". Above is a "shirt" here is a Link to a cotton undershirt. The undershirt is worn over the shirt, but under a jacket.
The 1693 inventory of Elizabeth van Eps of Albany who traded goods with the local indigenous population has 1 colored woman's petticoat, 1 purple ditto, 1 black silk petticoat, 1 stuff women's petticoat, 1 cotton ditto... the inventory is in Dutch so there is no doubt that the cotton petticoat was anything other than a cotton fabric and not a brushed woolen. 

Interestingly, when the term cotton is used above, it presumes white unless otherwise stated. When calico is used it is presumed printed unless stated as being white or blue.



Q & A:

If there was blue what about red or other colors ?


Strange as it sounds, despite India having a variety of dyes, economic books have only written about plain fabrics in blue, red and purple plus white and black. Most towns are making "Guinee" blue or white plus "diverse types" such as striped or checked. There is also solid red muslin (called "beatilha" or Golconda) and solid purple cotton fabric like the Pouris mentioned in these books. Red cotton fabric also turns up in New York often enough it is an option for reenactors. A purple petticoat is in one inventory, whether it was cotton or wool is unknown. Though, if red and blue turn up in New York it is likely someone had purple. 
There is a solid black called "canequins". 

While limited in color choice, this does open the door up a little for reenactors and historic sites for the 17th and 18th century. For those looking for authenticity sticking with solid blue, red, purple and white would be reasonable. I have not seen evidence for solid green, yellow, orange, brown or black... at least for New York. If these same items are listed in the Netherlands they would likely also be accessible to New York buyers as a number of families in New York (and Albany) were making purchases in Amsterdam even during English sovereignty. 

This Link shows a fabric sample card with solid colored fabrics made in India. Unfortunately, I don't know which of the solid colored ones are 100% cotton, 100% silk or blend of cotton and silk. But it does provide the tone and shades available. Note the sites claims black was also available. 




Friday, March 16, 2018

America's First Microscope and Telescope Maker, Susanna Davis Sommer

Move over Charles A. Spencer, and Amasa Holcomb, Susanna Davis Sommer is America's first Microscope and Telescope Maker. 


You probably haven't heard of Susanna Davis Sommer, let alone that she was the first American microscope and telescope maker. She was a celebrated Dutch professional having practiced since the 1720s in the Netherlands, arrived in America in 1749, and advertised in the New York Gazette in 1751 and 1753 that she was a grinder of all sorts of glass lenses, producer of spectacles, four draw telescopes and microscopes. She achieve recognition in her own life time, with her scopes having been in the collections of common people and the nobility. Both the French and the English acknowledge her achievements too. Yet, we in America do not learn about her technological contributions from school classrooms, museums, or historical sites. That she developed a table top dissecting microscope and her own version of a projecting microscope, the first of which would be copied by later scope makers. She also happened to be a widowed at a young age and raised three children on her own. Later her grandson, Ananias Cooper would become a notable Philadelphian merchant and goes on to fight along side Washington at Valley Forge. At the time of her arrival in 1749, she was the only glass grinder in New York, making her the only source for domestically produced scopes available for field research during the enlightenment and for telescopes or spy scopes during the French and Indian war. She helped us into the enlightenment by providing what the French and English considered the highest quality lenses for science in the western world.

"A brass telescope with four draw tubes, made by "Juffrouw [ Widow] Sommert" was in the Amsterdam Aron de Pinto collection, together with a microscope by her hand." - From Earth-Bound to Satellite: Telescope, Skills and Networks, by BRILL. 

Last summer, I represented her in typical Dutch-American garb while demonstrating how to grind glass to tourist and children at Fort Erie on Lake Ontario. By the time I am done with the demonstration kids know the difference between convex and concave lenses, the name Susanna, and learn that physics is not all that scary. The best part was, they loved it! Sommer is someone I care a lot about and hope that you all will spread the word, that one hell of a lady was the first crafter of telescopes and microscopes in America !


Early Life: 

Susanna Davis Sommer's early life is not well known. There is some speculation by her decedents in the US that she was born in 1695 in Wisbeche, Cambridgeshire, England and prior to marriage went to the Netherlands. A survey of the babies born in this parish turns up one "Susanah Palmer" born in 1695; unfortunately, the surnames of Palmer and Davis do not line up and the birth year was likely inferred form the Palmer date.

I believe it is more likely that her parents and heritage are likely either German or Dutch. Possibly, being born on the continent with the English birth place being mistaken, or with the possibly of having moved to England with her parents as refugees and then moving to the Netherlands. This particular English parish had a number of protestant refugees settling in the region in 1695 opening the door to her being the child of people seeking religious freedom. Another clue to her heritage is that late in life she and her daughter Elizabeth later joined the German speaking Moravian Church, becoming one of the original founders of the Fulton St. Church in Manhattan and is possibly the reason for her coming to America. I do find it surprising she would leave a thriving business, but this may have also been a way for her to semi-retire from her notoriety.


A Partnership: 

Records for Susanna's life picks up around the time of her marriage. In 1727, her husband Balthasar took out an advertisement in a Dutch paper.

Optic Glasses.—Notice is hereby given, that Balthaser Sommer, could be contacted in Amsterdam, both at the coffee shop of J. van der Wal at the “Paradijsvogel”, Bird of Paradise, on the Rokin, or in The Haue, Grinds all sorts of Optic Glasses to the greatest Perfection, such as Microscope Glasses, Spying Glasses of all Lengths, Spectacles, Reading-Glasses, for near-sighted People or others; Also, Spying-Glasses of three Feet long; which are to set on a common Walking-Cane, and yet be carried as a Pocket-Book; all at the most reasonable Rates.” - November 10, 1727

Just two months later, we see a possible reason for Balthasar looking to drum up new customers. The baptism of what is probably their first child, Lea Susanna Sommer. Balthasar and Susanna will have two other daughters; Mary and Elizabeth Sommer who will later follow her to America.
De Nederlandsche leeuw, Maandblad van het Koninklijk Nederlandsch Genootschap voor Geslacht- en Wapenkunde, MAANDBLAD van het Genealogisch-heraldiek Genootschap „De Nederlandsche Leeuw." page 231, under the surname of "Sommer".

Van dezen naam is 19 Jan. 1728 in de Evangelisch Luthersche kerk te 's-Gravenhage gedoopt Lea Susanna, dochter van Balthasar Sommer en van Susanna Davis.  
Of this name is 19 Jan. 1728 in the Evangelical Lutheran church in The Hague baptized Lea Susanna, daughter of Balthasar Sommer and Susanna Davis.

While speculative, the three daughters would have likely helped their mother in the "studio". Later before moving to America, Susanna choose a buyer for her studio. The buyer was Nicolaas van Leewen who's apprentices were his own two daughters - Anna and "Sanderina" - who a few years later over his shop and place their first advertisement on May 10, 1757 as grinders of glass and producers of magnifying products. Like father like daughter / like mother like daughter... melts one's heart ! 

Unfortunately, Balthasar will pass in 1733 but not before having made a name for himself. It is likely that Balthasar was trained in Bavaria or in the Netherlands to be a glass grinder. He was quick to pick up on trends. A glass grinder can make a living making spectacles as seen below, however, Balthasar is known to have made handheld screw microscopes that could be used to explore the world around oneself. 

Marian Fournier produced a catalog following the history of the microscope. For instance, the screw microscope was invented in 1694 by the Dutch mathematician Nicolaas Hartsoeker, later James Wilson will make his version of the screw microscope in 1702. Edmund Culpepper was first apprenticed as an engraver and later in 1720 produced a print in exact duplicate of the screw microscope he had available. Unfortunately, we do not know when our Balthasar Sommer was born, but know he died in 1733. While it is possible he died at a young age, it is more likely he was both older and a contemporary of Edmund Culpepper. Balthasar too made a screw microscope according to Fournier. See "Early Microscopes, A descriptive Catalogue" Leiden: Museum Boerhaave, 2003.

In another book we find the following, "For instance, in that of the merchant Anthony Bierens (auctioned in 1747), some 30 optical objects were present, including “an object and an eye glass fitted in a wooden holder, for an astronomical telescope of B. Sommer”.136". See "From Earth-Bound to Satellite: Telescopes, Skills and Networks", edited by Alison D. Morrison-Low. The book notes that auctioneers used, "The famous Sommers", as they were considered a team, to promote the products of the various auctions.


By Her Own Hand:

Susanna Davis Sommer will produce microscopes and telescopes by herself for roughly 32 years, with half of those years being in America. 

With permission, a projection microscope made by Susanna Sommer in the collection of the Museum Boerhaave. This museum has one of the largest collections of microscopes in the world, with many interactive projects for children. The microscope below has a tube that is connected to the large square plate. The plate opens like a book. Inside is a mirror on one side and the input lens to the tube on the other. The mirror reflects light from the sun onto the specimens plate and through the tube to a wall. Very similar to the overhead projectors used in schools from the 1980s and 1990s.







Her ingenuity was recognized by the English:

The book: “The microscope made easy or Describe the best and newest microscopes and any treatment. As a compliment of the amazing discoveries made with the magnifying glasses.” - by Henry Baker, 1744 
Page 8 - The solar microscope of Lord [Heere] Wilson (This system)… is sufficiently similar to that of the Lord Sommers, for what many years have been in use among our Dutch comrades, and now at the widow's own [hand], living in Amsterdam on the Reguliers gragt at Kerkstraat, is being sold.”
Page 10 - [For the Wilson's screw microscope]... “”M" is a flat strip of ivory, called a shackle [specimens’ holder], with four round holes there, in which the objects are placed between two Muscovich [glass] slides, showing the same d, d, d, d [on diagram]...
*Instead of Muscovich glass, the objects in the above-mentioned System of Sommer, Placed between two separate skeins of French or England glass thereto, which for some comrades will be preferred.” 

Did you catch that ? Wilson's are similar enough (a.k.a "good enough") to the long standing Sommer's scope, to be used by researchers. This comparison is like saying that while I love and own a VW coup... its still not a porch. More interestedly, why weren't the French or English using their own glass if it was of a better quality? Unfortunately, I am not sure of the difference between using two "slides" vs. two "skeins" but it seems to have improved the quality, and the author complains that systems that do not use the skein style have a difficult time with their specimens moving (floating) impeding observations. 

After this publication we find two advertisements likely capitalizing on her recent publicity.  In 1744 the adds read, "Optic Glasses.—Notice is hereby given, that Widow of Balthaser Sommer, could be contacted in her shop on the Reguliersgracht in Amsterdam...". Another add is taken out the year before she leaves for American in 1748, with her studio being sold to van Leewan, and Sommer arriving in America in 1749. 


In America:

Traditionally, New York has required immigrants to live in the colony for one year prior to applying for Freeman status, which allows a person whether merchant, tailor or candle stick maker to sell and carry on business. It was also a bit of a status position, as gentlemen also registered despite not having an occupation. There was not a stigma for a gentlemen of means to choose to join a group made up of primary people with jobs. The Freeman status was given to people who applied for it and paid a fee, and was in keeping with the Burger roll that had preceded it. Interestedly, those people with prior Burgher status could pass this onto their sons and son-in-laws and it continued right into the 19th century in New York. The Burgher rolls of New York included people of Dutch, German, English and other ethnicities, plus a number of women. Unfortunately, the Freeman rolls are not complete, and I could not find our Susanna Davis Summer. 

New York City's population in 1750 was about 12,000 people, and while not the largest port, it was the largest warehousing facility in the colonial era. The "Vitals" of New York has one "Elizabeth Somers as resident in 1751. Elizabeth Somers is her daughter, likely the youngest. Later, Elizabeth "Sommers" (1729-1785) born at Gravenhaag marries Reverend Andrew Langaard in 1763 a pastor in the Moravian church in Pennsylvania. In 1752, her daughter Maria Elizabeth Sommer is also listed as "Resident". Maria or Mary marries while still back in the Netherlands to the merchant Cornelius van "Kuyper". Right after their arrival in 1753, their child Ananias "Cooper" was born on August 31st, 1753 and baptized on September 3rd, 1753 in the Moravian church on Fulton St. in Manhattan. Later Ananias will marry Bridget Burke in Philadelphia. His advertisement is below:
Brush Manufactory.—Hogs Bristles....The Subscribers having erected a Brush Manufactory at No. 4, Peck's-slip, where they propose carrying on the brush making business in all its branches, Store-keepers and others may be furnished with all sorts on as low terms as any imported, to which they hope the preference will be given them, as the work is equally good if not better; and as they will warrant their work not to fail till worn out by use, they flatter themselves with expectation of getting a sufficient supply of this country bristles, that they may not be under the necessity of importing their stock from England; the farmers, by being careful in the season of killing, may have sufficient to supply them in this business. Country store-keepers would be the most proper persons to collect them. Ananias Cooper and Company.—New-York Daily Advertiser, December 26, 1787.

Susanna Sommer's first advertisement in the NewYork Gazette or Weekly Post Boy was in 1751 and the second in 1753 to notify everyone that she had moved to a new location.

1751 - “Widow of Balthaier Sommer Grinds All Sorts of Optick Glasses.
Notice is hereby given to all persons, that the widow of Balthaier SOMMER, late from Amsterdam, now living in “Beekman-Street, New York, next door to Mr. Lodowick BAMPERS [ No. 24 Beekman St. ], grinds all sorts of optics glasses to the greatest perfection, such as microscope glasses, spying glasses of all lengths, spectacles, reading glasses, for near sighted people or others. Also spying glasses of three feet long, which are to be set on a common walking cane, and yet be carried in a pocket book, all at the most reasonable rates. -The New-York Gazette or the Weekly Post-Boy, October 18th, 1751.
1753 - Optic Glasses.—Notice is hereby given, that the Widow of Balthaser Sommer, late from Amsterdam, now lives next Door to Mr. Laffert's on Pot-Baker's Hill, in Smith-Street [ William St. ], New-York, Grinds all sorts of Optic Glasses to the greatest Perfection, such as Microscope Glasses, Spying Glasses of all Lengths, Spectacles, Reading-Glasses, for near-sighted People or others; Also, Spying-Glasses of three Feet long; which are to set on a common Walking-Cane, and yet be carried as a Pocket-Book; all at the most reasonable Rates.—The New-York Gazette or the Weekly Post-Boy, May 21, 1753.

Interestedly, Mr. Bamper may have owned a glass shop and black smith shop at No. 24 Beekman St.

Glass House.—To be sold...The well known houses and lots of ground, with a large carpenter's and blacksmith shop of the late Lodwyk Bamper, deceased, No. 24 Beekman street New York...—New York Packet, January 26, 1787.


While the English in 1744 recognized her work prior to her immigration to America, after immigration, the French in 1762 claimed her instruments as being the preferred tool for exploring the microscopic world during the enlightenment. The author wrote politely pointing out how his Wilson dissecting microscope was a good enough copy of Susanna's cabinet mounted instrument. The one difference of the later Willson microscope being tweezers added to the base cabinet so to hold the specimens in place, as compare to putting it between slides/skeins like Sommer's microscopes. It is important to note that the cabinet top dissecting microscope post-dates Balthasar's active years. We can place the Sommer's version of handheld screw microscope in his court, while the cabinet top directing microscope in Susanna's.


Recommends... “de se servir du Microscope à Vis de Sommers & de Wilson, sans que l'on soit obligé de le tenir;” - Book: “Traite anatomique de la chenille: qui ronge le bois de saule” , by Pierre Lyonet, 1760

After the French and Indian war, on March 14, 1765, Susanna will die while being a member of the Moravian Church (est. 1741) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. When exactly she retired to PA, is unknown.

It is difficult to say just how many decedents can claim ancestry to this first of their kind American, but through Mary Elizabeth who appears to have had one child, Anasian Cooper, she can claim five grandchildren. It is unknown if Elizabeth who married a Moravian church pastor had any surviving children. Lea Susanna appears to have stayed in the Netherlands. According to the magazine De Nederlandsche leeuw, Maandblad van het Koninklijk Nederlandsch Genootschap voor Geslacht- en Xapenkund, which publishes genealogies there were a number of them. It is possible that she married into the Cornelis Michielsen Schimmelpenning family line who was born around 1557, though it is not clearly stated how she is related.  It made note of Lea Susanna's baptism in 1728 and who her parents were.

I do have one request form you all. I have been searching for examples of her work, but I believe her work may have been unsigned, at least for the smaller pieces. One modern historian of lenses sights having read/seen the initials "Juffrouw Sommert" as being used by Sommer, while B. Sommer is used while they are married. They turn up in old auction catalogs and museum inventories, though I could only source one photo. If anyone comes across a "sommer" scope, please add its location to the comments section.



Thank you !






Secondary sources:


Thinkers and Tinkers Early American Men of Science, New York, by S. Bedini, 1975, pp 215-216


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume 52 , edited by Richard Henry Greene, Henry Reed Stiles, Melatiah Everett Dwight, George Austin Morrison, Hopper Striker Mott, John Reynolds Totten, Harold Minot Pitman, Louis Effingham De Forest, Charles Andrew Ditmas, Conklin Mann, Arthur S. Maynard

A History of the Moravian Church in New York City, By Harry Emulous Stocker

A Register of Members of the Moravian Church: And of Persons Attached to Said Church in this Country and Abroad, Between 1727 and 1754. Transcribed from a Ms. in the Handwriting of the Rev. Abraham Reincke, to be Found in the Archives of the Moravian Church at Bethlehem, Pa., and Illustrated with Historical Annotations, H. T. Clauder, printer, 1873.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

600-1100 AD Metal Spearhead

Short and interesting post about a 600-1100 AD metal spearhead found in Charles Point on the Great Lakes. Here. I am thinking trade between Native Americans brought the spearhead to the Lakes. So, for instance, linen and bail seals from textiles have been found in early 17th century Seneca nation archeological digs in Western New York. The seals are from the Netherlands, but the Dutch never traveled that far. Its a great example of economic or political trade among indigenous groups. 

The Maine penny could have made it to the mainland from Newfoundland in the same way. My grandfather gave me a 17th century penny, that was given to him when he was about 7 years old (1920s) by a customer at his fathers tavern. Things can get passed around and stored for generations. Who knows how it ever got to western New York. 

But in some ways I feel like I am disregarding the Vikings ability to make it the last 700-800 miles from Newfoundland to Maine or further. Hopefully enough stuff will turn up to be able to plot a pattern on a map, but without a settlement there is no proof the Vikings really made it this far.  

But ... but there is an alternative answer. Just as Iceland and Greenland continue to use a warp weighted loom to make wadmal, just as they did during the Viking era, is it possible they continue to make spearheads the same way making it is a 17th century import??? 

An old movie version Video.

 Warp Weighted Loom video, it looks painfully slow. 

Something to table till further evidence. 


Friday, March 2, 2018

Vikings in New York and Delaware


"I would also like a chest with Faroese [ Island ] Stockings because these are the best goods to wet people's appetite for the [rest of the] ship's cargo." - 1648


While Viking era settlements are common in Europe, they have also been located in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and more recently Newfoundland. Though, one has not been found in New York or Delaware, yet. However, their decedents, textiles and even garments start arriving in Manhattan and are shipped up to Fort Orange in the 1630s. Seems like a "stretch", I know, to use the term Viking but...


While the raiding of other peoples comes to an end in the 12th century, their culture and material goods continue on up to the 17th century. Unfortunately for the 18th century, access to these good diminish greatly after the New Netherland era. As it appears, the early settlers were not the only ones placing a value on these garments, Native Americans found them practical too. This gives the 17th Century reenactor something different to explore and add to their kit. 

Below: Satellite image showing a rough path from Norway to the tiny Faroe islands near Scotland. Then the small island of Iceland (green) and the snow covered island of Greenland (white) before making it all the way to Newfoundland, about 2,650 miles. Another 800 miles and they would have made it to Manhattan. 









Nordic Settlers:

N
orwegen settlers were being recruited for the Rennsealear Colony during the 17th Century. Here are a few examples of those who came over and settled in New Netherland, specifically Rensselaer. 

1631, By de Eendracht, Sailed from the Texel shortly after July 7, 1631

Laurens Laurensz the Norman, from Copenhagen, engaged for three years to erect a sawmill

Barent Thonisz from "Heijligesont" [ Hellesund, on the south coast of Norway], engaged for three years to build a sawmill.

1637, By the Rensselaerswyck, Sailed from the Texel, October 8, 1636

Albert Anderiesz, from "Frederikstad" with wife "Annettje" Barents [in the southeast of Norway] erects a mill and is a tobacco planter, and rents two mills on Normans Kill. They leave 8 children.

"Arent" Andriesz, Noorman, tobacco planter brother to Albert Andries above.

Carsten Carstens, Noorman, Farm laborer, sawyer, stave splitter, mill hand and roof thatcher and later later a produce gardener. 

The pre-1664 population: 5% of the population was from Norway, another 3% from Sweden and 1% from Denmark. From my understanding this does not include New Sweden.  While we all know many Nordic persons settled New Sweden, we can see that while low in number had a presence from Delaware and Pennsylvania to Manhattan to Albany, New York. 

People from Nordic nations continue to arrive in small numbers but consistently throughout the 17th Century under both Dutch and later English Sovereignty. This continues into the 18th Century with people such as Jacob, son of Jacob Wickenberg of Coreby, Sweden, a sailor in 1732; Peter Johanson, from Bergen, Norway; and Lauren "Roloffson" from Copenhagen, Denmark. 
However, it wasn't just people being imported from the Nordic Nations or their colonies. A side note: Nordic includes the Scandie nations of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark plus Finland. 


A Textile Called "Vaðmál", Vadmal or Wadmal:

When we think of the Vikings, the era from 793 - 1050AD is that standard range. However, the colonies established by these same Vikings, continue on in a semi-isolated Islands. The Faroe Island, Iceland and Greenland have the same people producing the same textiles and garments they have been since their early settlement, with historians extending the Viking era into the 14th century for these regions. It gets better, simply because they hung on to their Viking style garments and textiles right into the 17th century, when their stockings, Norse Kersey and even the infamous "vaðmál" (wadmal) show up in New Netherland. 

In 1638, kersey from Norway was being imported.

Honor be to God, this day 28, April 1638, in Amsterdam Loaded in the ship called Het Weapon van "Noorweegen" for the colony of Rensselaerwyck, these following goods...
1 an East India chest in which Norwegian kersey, canvases, linen and divers other goods for the needs of the human body.


(Please forgive terms such as "Vaðmál" being in quotes, auto-attack has not been cooperative.) 


The kersey that shows up in Rensselaerwyck, arrives on a ship from Norway, with Norwegian passengers and Norwegian goods. It does make a pit stop in the Netherlands prior to landing in New Netherland but it is clearly an early account of a coarse thread 2/2 twill weave textile that was likely "fulled" and originated in Norway. The reason I suggest it was likely "fulled" is because the Dutch recorder noted it as a Kersey which are fulled, however, I have not found a source for kersey being made in Norway. Was this the textile called "vaðmál" which also happens to be a coarse thread 2/2 twill weave that is sometimes fulled? To get a sense of what the Norse kersey was, considering there is little evidence of "kersey" being woven in Norway we can look to another sources. In the sources below the original would have read "vadmal" in Swedish records. 


1911: The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, 1638-1664, By Amends Johnson, 
Joen Skraddare was undoubtedly a tailor, as his nick-name indicates,... Brown or gray wadmal and duffel, linen and frieze were the most common cloth, in fact almost the only kind shipped here for the need of the settlers and from this their garments were made. The retail cost of these materials from 1643 until 1654: 1. Frieze, four florins a yard. 2. Duffel, four florins a yard. 3. Linen cloth, one florin a yard. 4. Wadmal, twelve stivers a yard. 

Norse textiles continue to be imported after the earlier shipments. In 1647, The Swan was loaded with items from Holland in Stockholm, which included "several hundred yards of wadmal" and stockings, then set sail from Sweden. During this same time, a New Sweden soldier's purchase oder gives the following, "4 yards of wadmal a 13 stivers 0:2:8". (B. Monatg., 1642-1656, Jonsson's account) 

1655: Report of Governor Johan "Risingh" June 14, 1655 page 161.

Moreover, all the cargoes needed here,...can also be made up from supplies of the Compay at home in Sweden; and since linen, fine and coarse can be bought for a cheap price, and wadmal and hards also,... for there would be a splendid gain to be secured from these goods from every country, especially here in America,...

The Viking era was roughly between 793 - 1050AD and centered around Norway; with the Faroe islands being settled by 800 AD, Iceland in 874 and Greenland in 980s. For places such as Greenland and Iceland their "Viking age" continues to the 14th Century. Catholic churches begin appearing about 1015AD in Norway. During this time a fabric called "vaðmál", which was a 2/2 twill produced on a warp weight loom, was one of the most common wool textiles available for warmth. A 2/2 twill weaves include kersey (a "fulled" textile) and serge (a twill-woolen blended textile), which can also appear in patterns such as birdseye or herringbone. Additionally, Vaðmál could be "fulled" but archeological finds suggest that this was not as common as non-treated. The coarse version is called "gjaldavoo" at 9-10 warps per cm and the finest called "smavoo" at 13-14 warp threads per cm. It may have been a precursor to fulled Kersey being made in England.

"Vaðmál" (vadmål, wadmal) was produced to specific standards by the 12th century due to it being used as a currency in places such as Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, etc. It was set to a specification of 98.4cm wide or two ells, which also meets England's import requirements. Shipments of this textile continue throughout the middle ages. 
In 1596, a ship in an English port, having returned from Iceland, had 640 yards of "vaðmál", 240 "vaðmál" socks, 720 "vaðmál" mittens and 18 "vaðmál" cassocks. This is in contrast to Greenland who's "vaðmál" evolved to become warmer using a warp dominated (higher count) weave over time. Greenland exported more stockings and mittens than cloth. The fabric was not limited to 98.4 cm wide. A 12th-13th century loom was discovered in Greenland to have enough notches on its long beam to produce a 147.6 cm wide fabric.  

Interestingly, when twills are found in American archeological sites the thread used in the textile can be used to determine the region of origin and what type of twill it is. Thread is spun either clockwise or counterclockwise, sometimes the warp and welt yards are spun in the same direction sometimes the opposite. The combination is specific to both region and can change over time. 

"Vaðmál" was very popular during the Viking era and continues to be exported from Iceland into the 17th century, but by the later middle ages it is considered and usually purchased by poorer persons. See the following study on "vaðmál". The above info is from Weaving Wealth Cloth and Trade in Viking Age and Medieval Iceland. However, it seems that over time, while "Vaðmál" remains a coarser quality, higher thread count versions emerge. 

Additional information on archeological digs and textiles can be found in Tools and Textile Production in the North Atlantic.
"Hafnarvoamal could comprise several different qualities, such as merkurvoamal..., used in better clothes, carpets, bed covers and the like. ... while merkurvaomal, the commonest type of hafnarvaomal, cost two and a half times more." 

For New Sweden and New Netherland era reenactors and historic sites, consider including 2/2 twill woven woolens in a low thread count as capes, blankets, doublets and even leggings. This is a fun topic, how a textile made popular by the Vikings was still being produced in their former colonies well into the 17th century AND were the fabrics that got many of the first settlers through those early American winters. "Vaðmál" and our friend Laken were the workhorses of winter and rainy weather textiles.

You can find great pictures of how this textile is woven on Arachne's blog. Vix a weaver of historic textiles and took on the challenge of weaving wadmal.

Mittens and shoes made from fabric that is cut and sewn together, likely our twilled fabric. Link.


Nordic Stockings: 

Imported Icelandic and Faroe [Island] stockings are also found in the colony. The knitting industry was introduced to these islands through the early Viking settlements. 
Faroe stockings have a shoe like bottom (flat bottom), and are twice the thickness of a typically knitted stocking. In 1648 Govert (Governor) Loockermans sends a letter requesting that his wife sends stockings for him to sell in New Netherland. "I would also like chest with Faroese Stockings because these are the best goods to wet people's appetite for the [rest of the] ship's cargo." In 1651, Damen, a brewer, New Amsterdam, has "13 pairs of Faroe Stockings" in his inventory and were likely for sale. 

In these settlements, knitting was an industry primary performed by women. In 1624, Iceland exported 72,000 pairs of stockings and 12,000 pairs of mittens according to the book "Traditional Scandinavian Knitting" by Sheila McGregor. The book includes images and grids for knit patterns for the Faroe Islands and Iceland. See link to the book in the right margin of this site. 

In November of 1653 in the Council Mintutes orders were given to appraise incoming immigrants material goods. To ensure consistency, the most common items were assign valuations of which the first there items are as follows:

A pair of men's shoes, size 8 to 12 at 3.5 florin, a pair of Icelandic Stockings at 38 stivers, a firkin of soap at 20 guilders, etc...

This was followed by fixed pricing  in November of 1657, due to a high volume of sea-wan, and lower volume of beaver which are being used as currency. The prices were set for lower quality items. 
A quart of poor vinegar at 24 stivers, Oil at 3 to 4 guilders, Etc...Two quarts of home brewed beer 12 stivers, A pair of coarse Faroese stockings at 4 guilders etc...

Probate inventories turn up Norse Stockings too:

The 1665 Imbroch inventory from Wiltwick (Kingston) has both "filled (gevulde) stockings and iceland stockings"

The 1665 Reversion Inventory from Fort Orange (at center of Beverwijk Albany) has: "2 pair new Icelandic stockings, 2 pair old ditto"

So, we can see that there was a presence of both textiles and stockings from Nordic nations in the colony. The Nordic Kerseys are mentioned a few times, more so along the Hudson River, with wadmal mostly showing up in New Sweden, and Nordic Stockings due to their water resistance and warmth are found everywhere. They are also found in sailor's inventories. These islands also exported mittens and other items, while knit mittens turn up in inventories they are not mentioned to be Faroe or Icelandic. However, knitting needles are rarely found in inventories, leaving imported mittens as the main option. 


There is one other item, that though not explicitly said to be Nordic, I am guessing it was them that figured out how to produce such an item listed in a bill of landing: "46 pair of watertight leather shoes, averaging 23-1/2 stiv. a pair". They happen to be sent to Rensselaer, which is where the Nordic kerseys are being sent and Norse Stockings are found, so there may be a relationship. The Vikings had a waterproof leather or oilskin they used. Lastly, it seems that Norsemen and New Netherlanders were not the only ones that found these stockings useful. 

On the 10th of July 1657 several Native Americans deed Staten Island to "Lubbertus" van "Dincklaecken". The island was traded for dozens of different items among which included 

10 boxes of shirts; 10 ells of red checked cloth; 30 pounds of powder; 30 pairs of "Faroese" stockings;....etc.

Reenactors who portray soldiers and sailors can easily tap into any of the items mentioned above. As can be seen, the farmers and settlers on the Hudson and up in Albany had access to the same goods as those down in New Sweden. When looking at New Sweden, it seems that their suits made of leather and possibly duffle were complimented by Nordic kerseys, wadmal, and Icelandic and Faroese stockings. 


I hope you enjoyed this article and was as surprised as I was to learn that while it took a few extra generations, squarely Viking stockings and textiles made their way to the colony.