Tie Silk Swatches, 1926 (Part I)

And now… a interlude featuring the fabrics a tie might have been made of in 1926. Getting a feel for what early 20th century ties looked like can be tricky, to say the least, since for one thing the illustrations of neckwear options in period catalogs and magazines rarely (if ever) in color. But a sample book containing, on its brittle, crumbling pages, hundreds of tie silk swatches and dated, ever so helpfully, “1926″ on the badly faded, lopsided spine? That’s a giant leap in the right direction, not to mention a mouthwatering feast for the eyes.

Most of the pages in this sample book are marked either “Switzerland” or “Italy”, so I’m guessing those countries were the big tie silk manufacturers of the day. Each page shows a different design, in roughly 4 to 6 color options, with the color variations often impressively subtle. Also, the book begins with elegant but less distinctive striped designs before exploding with some wildly colorful and intricate brocades, so I’ll show the opening pages as collages to keep the overall picture-heaviness down. (As with the Globe Tailoring book, I’ll be sharing the book in–hopefully-more manageable installments).

So without further ado (and with the self-evident observation that textile manufacture just ain’t what it used to be), here goes. Enjoy!

The next couple of pages also feature stripes, but the silks were woven in Italy and with far more complexity and beauty than anything out there today; the chevron-like effect within the stripes is IMO superb:

This brocaded striped design hails from Switzerland:

Better fasten your seatbelts for the next two pages:

More brocaded stripes from Switzerland:

Jacquard loom wizardry from Italy:

Striped Italian designs with moire interest:

More Italian stripes:

More Italian gorgeousness (Morse code? Mosaic?):

And a brocade to finish off this post (not sure where it’s from; it’s unmarked):

2 Responses to “Tie Silk Swatches, 1926 (Part I)”

  1. Lynn Mally Says:

    Stunningly beautiful. Some of the patterns look like they might be from the psychedelic sixties! My favorites are those second to the last.

  2. admin Says:

    I agree, Lynn–the patterns are SO exuberant it’s astonishing! (And without the influence of mind-altering drugs, no less… :) I love that next to last one too–the colors are just so rich…

    I’ve only scratched the surface of the book, so check back in the weeks ahead–some of the most amazing examples are yet to come!

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