Friday, October 9, 2020

Green Calicoes in the Early 20th Century

Quilt dated 1903, Shirk

Green calicoes are among the hardest prints to date in antique quilts.
They were classic "bread & butters," the fabric that sold year after year
and paid the bills.

The S.H. Greene Company had a line of Washington Prints.
Green with yellow figures. Is that dark a black?

Green with blue and black

From Michigan State University
Green with white and black

Here are a few quilts dated in the 1900-1915 years with similar prints.

1903, Belle H.

Showing once again how hard these green calicoes are to date.

1904, Lizetta Schweitzer Coprio

I'd probably have dated these more like 1880-1900
but I guess 1880-1920 would be better.

1906, Clara E


1910, Grandma West

1911, H.Y.

1913, Ella Strouse, Mennonite Heritage Center

UPDATE: These green calicoes are NOT poison green; they are overdyed  with various nontoxic coloring agents.
Read more about true poison green here:


  1. Can you enlighten us on why these are often referred to as poison green? (and why you don’t?)

  2. I took a class that was teaching about fabrics, of course the color green came up. It seemed to be a stable back in the day. From some of the pictures, it looks like the green has faded to a gray or black. I really like the star quilt by Grandma West!

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