Monday, January 12, 2009


Since I’ve been looking into 19th century patterns (Godey’s, Weldon’s & Peterson’s), I’ve been seeing patterns for things called “penwipers.” It intrigued me because I couldn’t figure out how they would wipe pens on these beautiful knitted, crocheted and sewn pen wipers.

I was finally won over by some folks on a Ravelry vintage group when it was explained that these were covers for the actual part on which the pens were wiped and that there were often black fabrics or other dark fibers for the serviceable areas. I’ve seen one now that used a pom-pom of black yarn as the wiper part.

I’ve posted some examples of the patterns on my
web site so you can have a look. I would be really fascinated to see some firsthand. Now that I know what they are, I need to start keep an eye out for them in the antique shops.

I couldn’t find any penwipers on ebay but I did find one reproduction of a book from 1896 and here are the patterns that were included:

  • Angel Penwiper
  • Chicken Penwiper and Pincushion
  • Crocheted Penwiper
  • Extinguisher Penwiper
  • Fez Penwiper
  • Jester Penwiper
  • Round Penwiper
  • Nyanza Penwiper
  • Parasol Penwiper
  • Tulip Penwiper #1
  • Tulip Penwiper #2
  • Turk's Cap Penwiper
  • Umbrella Stand Penwiper and Holder
  • Water Lily Penwiper
  • Wheel Penwiper
  • Witch's Hat Penwiper
  • Another Penwiper

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