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Koechlin, Camille, 1811–1890
Sample books for printed cotton fabrics manufactured by Koechlin & Frères.
France, 1841-1843.
Physical Description:
2 volumes (395; 357 pages) ; 32 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
TS1372 K64 1841+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Archives & Manuscripts
The Koechlin family of Mulhouse, France, were leading manufacturers of printed cotton textiles. The family included a number of prominent chemists, including the compiler of the present volumes, Camille Koechlin (1811-1890), who specialized in the chemistry of bleaching and coloring. Though the firm of Koechlin & Frères was based in Mulhouse (in Alsace), the present volumes describe work at factories in the towns of Le Houlme and Déville, both near Rouen (in Normandy).
For more information on the dyeing of printed fabrics in general, and for mention of Koechlin dyes in particular, see: Greene, Susan W. Wearable prints, 1760-1860: history, materials, and mechanics. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2014. For a brief history of the Koechlin firm, see: Smith, Michael Stephen. The emergence of modern business enterprise in France, 1800-1930. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006 (pages 139-140).
Both volumes are bound in contemporary brown cloth.
Two volumes of manuscript pattern books serve recording the chemical dyeing processes and pigments used by the French firm Koechlin & Frères, compiled by Camille Koechlin, 1841-1843. The detailed and technical hand-written notes on dyeing accompany several thousand fabric swatches pasted to the pages of the two albums.
The manuscript title page of the first volume reads: "Fabrication de 1841 à 1842 au Houlme. Camille Koechlin." In this volume, swatches (generally about 4 x 8 cm) are placed on the left-hand side of each page and are accompanied by notes in the right-hand column. For example a swatch with vertical rose and green stripes is accompanied by text: "Amaranthe no. 1, p. 384, puis vert 1/2 par-dessus; fixage habituel; un jour d'aérage, laver et battre." Pages 300-388 in the volume provide recipes for each color, including recipes for aniline dyes. The recipe for Amaranthe (page 384) specifies: "6 litres oxalate stannique, 2 1/2 kilog. acide oxalique, 15 litres acétate d'alumine, 15 litres ou 18 kilog. extrait de cochenille page 357, 8 kilog. gomme. Pour foncer j'y ajoutais encore 4 kilog. cochenille ..." The Amaranthe recipe is also accompanied by the note: "Cette couleur est des plus sensibles au cuivre." On pages 245-299 (between the swatches and recipes), Koechlin provides notes of a more general nature. The volume concludes with an index of colors, and (on page 394) a list of "Prix des drogues" i.e. the prices of 40 chemical ingredients, per kilogram.
The manuscript title page of volume two reads: "Fabrication de 1842 à 1843 à Déville. Camille Koechlin." The volume may be unfinished. The swatches vary considerably in size, some as large as about 15 x 15 cm. Absent are manuscript notes accompanying each swatch (as found in the first volume). Many of the pages at the back are blank, though color recipes are present on pages 251-292. A color index is given on pages 355-356, followed by several diagrams and notes on machines used in the manufacturing process.
Subject Terms:
Aniline dye.
Clothing and dress -- Europe -- 19th century.
Clothing and dress -- France.
Clothing trade -- France.
Cotton fabrics.
Dyes and dyeing -- Chemistry -- 19th century.
Dyes and dyeing -- Cotton -- 19th century.
Koechlin & Frères.
Mulhouse (France) -- Commerce -- 19th century.
Textile design -- France -- Alsace.
Textile fabrics -- France -- Design.
Textile printing -- France -- 19th century.
Workshop recipes -- France.
Pattern books.
Sample books.
Textile materials.
Koechlin & Frères.
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