Rag Rug Weaving Family
c1890 Cabinet Card Photograph
This set of two cabinet cards is unlike any I've ever seen. Period photos of weavers are unusual but are found. This set features a home based rag rug weaving family. Rag rugs consist of scrap or discarded cloth, sliced in narrow strips, loaded on a special shuttle and woven to create a sturdy and long wearing rug. Rag rugs were popular during the later part of the 19th century as affordable floor coverings.
The set consists of a photo of the workroom and of the family. In the workroom can be seen four large and heavily built hand looms, a sewing machine and the entire family. A gas lamp hangs overhead. The shape of the workroom, the lamp and the wall paper leads me to identify this as a room in a home, likely the living room.
The family photo is a typical posed cabinet card photo of a proud family. No doubt these were shot by a traveling photographer, taken on site and developed in the photographers traveling wagon.