Penny Rugs – Textiles

A penny rug, late 19th century, with a dog surrounded by circles

p4A ItemID F7932378
A felt penny-style rug, early 20th century, with pinwheels within a red and blue border

p4A ItemID F7932377
A penny rug, late 19th century, with chickens surrounded by circles

p4A ItemID F7932154
A Pennsylvania tabletop penny rug, 19th century

p4A ItemID F7932139

Penny Rugs

During the last quarter of the 19th century, thrifty homemakers found an economical way to use left over pieces of fabric that were too small to use in braided or hooked rugs. The scraps of left over fabric, usually from men’s suits or blankets, were sewn around circular pieces of thick wool. These were then attached to form small rugs and were used in a variety of ways – decorative table mats or more usually as hearth rugs to protect floors from burning logs. Many of these penny rugs did not survive because of their practical heavy usage.

-Lois Thomas, editor, April 2008.

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