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Subject: Oilcloth

Oilcloth

From: Liesbeth van Ravels <liesbethvanravels<-at->
Date: Sunday, February 8, 2009
I am a student in textile conservation at the Netherlands Institute
for Cultural Heritage in Amsterdam and I am investigating the
conservation of oilcloth for my final thesis.

Oilcloth is a fabric, usual cotton, coated or impregnated with a
pigmented drying oil, usually linseed oil, to make it waterproof.
Oilcloth coatings were available in numerous colors and printed
designs. It was commonly used for table covers, floor covers,
waterproof clothing, umbrellas and shelf linings. In the second half
of the 20th century, oilcloths were replaced by less expensive
plastic coated fabrics.

In time oilcloth will crack and the layers will separate, especially
where the groundlayer is subject to movement, like for example the
cover of a child carriage.

Primarily, I would like to know: how exactly was it manufactured?
The literature refers to a textile base, linseed oil and a pigment,
but I have not found information regarding the exact recipe or
manufacturing process. Also, was a plasticizer used to keep the
oilcloth supple, and if so which one? Could this be wax? When was it
manufactured for the first time?

However, all information on oilcloth is welcome! Have you experience
in the conservation of oilcloth? Do you have samples I could use for
research purposes? Do you know where it was produced or if it still
is being manufactured? Do you know anyone I could contact about the
conservation or manufacturing of oilcloth?

Liesbeth van Ravels
fourth year student, textile conservation
Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage
Amsterdam
The Netherlands


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Received on Sunday, 8 February, 2009

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