Monday, August 28, 2006

History of the Feedsack By: Sherrie Nordgren


Ever wonder where in the world Feedsacks came about, I have wondered ,What is the fascination with feedsacks, this once lowly regarded coarse, homespun textile called chicken linen -- nostalgia for times gone by? a relic of America’s agriculture progress? a piece of American folk history? a part of childhood? something for a colorful display or quilting?
so began my quest of researching the roots of the "Feedsack" It is a very intresting journey!

The sack which was and is widely used for many things, It is the feedsack that adds so much yesteryear to our prim , Folk Art dolls,
The feedsack began in the early 1800's,
In the 1800's our goods such as food staples, grain, seed, and animal feed were packed for transportation and storage in tins, boxes, and wooden barrels. This proved to be a waste and hazzard to the farmer/importer.Storage such as tin would rust and the boxes and barrels leaked and were damaged very easily, Plus they were so bulky, heavy ,which made it difficult for transport.
Manufacturers were trying to find another method, They thought about cloth bags, But hand sewn seams could not hold up in heavy use.
It wasn't until 1846 with the birth of the new invention of the "stitching machine" (Sewing machine)The manufacturers then considered cloth bags of homespun linen ,which the stitching machine now made it possible to sew double locking seams strong enough to hold the contents of a bag of goods.Feedbacks were initially made of heavy canvas,
System was invented by:
Which the farmer used to obtain flour, sugar, meal, grain, salt and feed from the mills. They were reusable, with the farmer bringing an empty sack stamped with his mark or brand to the mill to be filled. This changed when the North East mills began weaving inexpensive cotton fabric in the late 1800's. Feedsacks (or feedbags) were initially printed on plain white cloth and in sizes that corresponded to barrel sizes. For example, a one barrel bag held 196 pounds of flour. A 1/8 barrel bag only held 24 pounds. The brand name of the flour was simply printed on the side of the bag.

Part 2 to come
Hope your enjoying the history of Feedsacks
Have a Great Day
Sherrie