Black Wabash Stripe Necktie
Some of the fabrics used in the early days of manufactured work garments look formal to us today. Wabash Stripe fabric may seem an unusual choice for overalls, work jackets and such, but from the late 1800s to the early 1900s it was quite common. To my knowledge there were two ways in which the stripe was achieved. Initially, the desired pattern was block printed with a starch-based resist onto fabric which was then dyed. A faster method was developed in the late 1800s and involved running the dyed goods through a printing press. Copper rollers with the raised patterns picked up a mildly acidic solution which was then transferred to the fabric. Wherever the solution was applied would "bleach" the fabric white, thereby creating the pattern. Discharge printing, as the process was called, was apparently abandoned in the 1930s. I have not done enough research to verify this date but it seems to be generally accepted in the vintage community as the end of large scale production for this type of fabric in North America. The patterns achieved were endless, easily a thousand different designs (likely more) were produced by a handful of different manufacturers, J.L. Stifel & Sons of Wheeling, West Virginia being the most notable.
For as common as Wabash Stripe fabric was at the turn of the last century, you'd be hard pressed to find usable antique yardage these days, let alone scraps, so I was lucky to find enough to make a few neckties from Black Wabash Stripe. This fabric is on the heavier side, having the weight of a light denim. It has no manufacturers stamp on its back, but surely dates to the early 1900s, if not earlier.
Vintage Black Wabash Stripe, 100% Cotton
53" long x 2.75" wide
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