Stitches in Time : Tools for Domestic Textile Arts
Object ID:
1983.039.027 A-B
Before washing machines, "doing laundry" meant submerging the textiles in boiling water. If the dyes were not "boilfast," then the color would run. Shrinkage was also a problem. Mercerized cotton, named for its inventor, John Mercer, is a chemically treatment that became popular in the late 1800s. It resists both shrinkage and mildew better than regular cotton thread. Also known as pearl cotton for its lustrous appearance, mercerized cotton thread can be used in sewing, crochet, and knitting.

Gift of Helen Eshelman.
Click to Enlarge