Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tailor

"Young Man with a Flute" by George Romney
shows a garment that would have been made
at a tailor's shop
Until the mid-1800s, American people didn’t have factories that made cloth or sewing machines to sew that cloth. The process of spinning thread, weaving cloth, and sewing proved to be too much for most folks. More men, women, and children, rich or poor, needed a tailor in those times than any other craftsman.
Therefore, individuals visited a tailor to have their measurements taken and their garments made. The tailor would make a paper pattern, cut out a garment, and sew it.
The early tailor’s supplies came from England who shipped more cloth to America than any other supplier until the Revolutionary War. After that, Americans had to begin to make their own cloth, thread, and buttons.
            At first, only men worked as tailors. A little later, a new style of dress called a mantua required a process of draping the cloth for women’s garments instead of using a paper pattern. This opened the door for women to begin to make clothing for money. These women tailors were called mantua makers.
`           Tailor apprentices started very young, usually at age eight and remained an apprentice for seven years. As beginners, these learners started with plain sewing. Later, they became cutters or finishers. Cutters cut out patterns and cloth. Finishers completed such tasks as hand stitching buttonholes, attaching lace to a lady’s gown, and sewing with fancy stitches to make a garment pretty.
            The invention of the sewing machine and the advent of the Industrial Age decreased the need for tailors. 

“Young Women with a Lamb" by Thomas Hudson
shows draped dresses, the work of a mantua maker.

References:

Crews, Ed. “Tailor Made for History.” Colonial Wiliamsburg.com. Web. 3 Sept. 2016
https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Autumn05/tailor.cfm

Taylor, Dale. The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Colonial America. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books, 1997. Print.




Saturday, August 5, 2017

Silversmith

          When one of our children was teething, my mother-in-law gave me three silver spoons which had been in her family. She told me that her mother had given them to her to teethe on when she was a baby since they were softer than the silver-plated silverware her family owned. 
        I looked up the silversmith marks on the backs of the spoons. Read More

Friday, July 28, 2017

Shoemaker

Shoe Last




            A colonial shoemaker made shoes from leather that he bought from a tanner. The early shoemaker sold his shoes to the middle and lower income people since wealthy people ordered their shoes from England and later from the Dutch and French after America declared its freedom from England.
The shoemaker began by Read More

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Clockmaker


Early Clocks
The first clock in Pennsylvania might have been a lantern clock made to sit on a shelf. The lantern clock had a brass box and a bell on top for striking the hours. The clock had the height of about fifteen inches and a spring-driven single hand. The face had only hours and half-hour marks.
The next kind of clock Read More

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Gunsmiths

Kentucky Rifle

     In colonial times, gunsmiths worked as repairmen and as makers of new guns. A gunsmith might make a gun from used parts, new parts, or a combination of used and new. The kind of guns made in the early years of America were Read More

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Glassmaker


A Glassmaker at 2010 Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair

Have you ever heard the expression, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?” This is referring to someone whose house is made of glass. Today, I'm describing someone who worked Read More

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cabinet Maker

In the early days of America, the essentials of life kept a person busy. The homeowner or a neighborhood carpenter built simple rough furniture quickly and simply. The country carpenter also made Read More

Friday, June 23, 2017

Blacksmith

A necessary part of frontier life involved the care of horses. For the horse’s protection, metal horseshoes are nailed to horses’ hooves. In colonial times, a blacksmith would have made the horseshoes, and either he or a farrier would have “set” them. A farrier then as well as now traveled from farm to farm to shoe horses. 

Records show that in 1637, Read More

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Apothecary


In colonial days, people sought help for their illnesses from a man called an apothecary who did some of the same things as the colonial doctor did. Just as people of today respect and listen to a doctor’s advice, colonial people thought highly of apothecaries.

To decide what to do, an apothecary Read More 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Early Craftsmen and Craftswomen

Furniture Makers*
Weavers*


As towns grew, hardworking people continued to seize opportunities to start their own businesses. Although still dependent on England for some supplies, these townspeople made things like guns, shoes, clocks, clothing, furniture, silverware, and horseshoes from beginning to end right in their own shops. Specialized businesses produced all the wares during the 1700s.

In the small towns, people often worked several jobs. For example, a clock maker Read More

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lumber, Grist, and Paper Mills

In the preceding blog the first definition of industry given in Merriam-Webster had been “the habit of working hard and steadily.” The second definition of industry in the same resource is “a group of businesses that provide a particular product or service.” The early industries in Pennsylvania fit this category. As towns sprang up, Read More

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Early Agriculture


The early Pennsylvania colonist farmed. After he arrived in this country, he chose his land, built a rough shelter, cleared land by chopping down trees, and planted his crops so he would have food for winter. The settler deposed of the fallen trees by burning them and then sold the ashes or used them to make soap. Neighbors helped chop up or pull out tree stumps using sturdy horses, mules, or oxen.
Only after preparing his field, did the settler Read More

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hunters, Trappers, and Traders



Pennsylvania had many kinds of industries over the years. The simplest definition of industry is “the habit of working hard and steadily.”[1]  From beginning times, Pennsylvania people labored to meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.
Woods covered most of Pennsylvania before explorers came to the New World. Native Americans Read More