For instance, iridescent chambray and basket-weave cottons were the absolute rage in the late 1940s-early 50s; finding those fabrics in 36″ is a good clue to their age. Some plain-weave cottons such as batiste, lawn and nainsnook are still with us but whether old or vintage, their similarities after washing make them virtually indistinguishable from each other.
Two other long-gone family members, mull and longcloth, are nearly indistinguishable from nainsnook and lawn whether new or washed.
So, your divy instincts having performed admirably, you know you have something old, but exactly how old and and exactly what is it?
Fabric identification without the aid of selvage markings, provenance or an expert can be tricky. But there are clues to put you somewhere in the ballpark.
One item that I found particularly interesting and revolutionary for stout was the “Electro writer” device.
Long before our current age of cell phones and web messaging, people had to communicate long distances in ways feasible at the time.
In this photo he was lecturing to an education conference in Oregon.
Voile with its raspy-tongue feel and frosty soap scum appearance is easily identifiable; however it is still being manufactured.
Old voile had wide satiny selvages; most today are narrow.
In the early 60s a device came about known as an Electro writer, which was basically a one-way fax machine.
The device would run a metal sheet through, while the user would use the attached burning pen to make smart marks and write short words.