Woven Wool and Cotton "HEMFIELD RAILROAD" Coverlet, probably Pennsylvania, 19th century, two-piece, double weave structure of navy blue and salmon wool and natural cotton, with a field of floral and foliate medallions in squares, with single and double borders depicting railroad locomotives and fuel tender cars, with corner blocks depicting a bust of Mr. T.M.T. McKennan, first president of the railroad, encircled with a woven inscription "HEMFIELD RAILROAD," fringed on three sides, (scattered fraying, losses), 84 x 77 in.
Literature: This coverlet is pictured in Coverlets and the Spirit of America, by Melinda Zongor (Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2002), pp. 186-87. Zongor writes: "This is the famous Hemfield Railroad coverlet, much prized by collectors. In this example, the pattern and color changes create a visual texture of a third color and a resemblance to ingrain carpeting. The correct spelling should include a 'P;' but it would not have fit into the circular motif. It is not known if this is an ad hoc abbreviation...or a misspelling."
Note: Beginning in 1857 the Hempfield (Hemfield) Railroad ran from the towns of Wheeling to Washington, Pennsylvania, and in 1871 it was sold to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
The coverlet has several losses to the fabric (more-so of the the cotton), there is alot of fraying along the top border, severalscattered spots/areas of frayng and loss, scattered losses to the fringe, crude over-stitched repaired areas.
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