Those cozy cotton chenille bedspreads most of us remember from our yesteryears- during the mid-century- are highly sought-after still today. Leading the way in chenille popularity is the Peacock-designed bedspreads. You got to admit: Everyone loves a peacock and a comfy bedspread…a winning combination!
In the collecting arena, anything with a Peacock print, pattern or figural is quite collectible. Certain vintage chenille bedspreads, such as those with Peacock-themes, can sell for over $300 if found in excellent condition.
Vintage soft cotton, chenille bedspreads came in different colorful patterns and sizes. Other chenille bedspread patterns include-florals, hearts, and the double wedding ring, just to name a few.
So, where were these marvelous tufted, cotton chenille bedspreads manufactured? They came from the textile mills of Dalton, Ga, and have been around since the late 1800’s when Ms. Catherine Evans revived tufting techniques on cotton spreads near Dalton.
By the 1920s, chenille tufted bedspreads became popular with the buyers, and the merchants from the city of Dalton, in Georgia, took notice. They began to build mills in and around Dalton to produce these chenille household products. The merchants established “spread houses” or homes located in Northern Georgia, Tennessee, and throughout the Carolinas. Families would sew patterns onto the stamped sheets of yarn brought to them by “haulers.” Once the spreads were picked up again by the haulers, they would be brought to tufters and then returned back to the spread houses to be finished. During the ’30s, Dalton’s mills began produced other tufted chenille products, such as bathrobes, bathroom carpets, and toilet- tank sets.
Dalton, Ga, became a thriving textile industry back in the 1930s, with the introduction of the cotton tufting bedspread business.
This revival led to Dalton, Ga becoming known today as “Carpet Capital of the World” with over 150 carpet manufacturing plants. The industry employs over 30,000 people in the Whitfield County area alone, with over 90 percent of the world’s carpet being produced within a 65-mile radius of Dalton, Ga.
Peacock Alley is located on U. S. Hwy 41, which goes through Dalton and other smaller towns. During the Depression Era, families would work from home or in the small warehouses found along this route, and they would hang out these lovely designed bedspreads to dry on the clotheslines. Folks on the way to vacation in Florida were able to view these spreads and most often would stop and purchase them. One of the most popular to purchase was the flamboyant peacock designs. This particular section off of U. S. Hwy 41 was called “Peacock Alley.”Visionary entrepreneurs, such as Mr. B. J. Bandy and his wife Dicksie became quite rich in the 1930s, making over one million dollars in the chenille manufacturing business, with others to follow later.
Check out this cool handmade peacock robe- which can sell for over $200!
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