Antique Christening Pillow or Cushion With Sentiment Spelled With Pins S G E Cartle (?) Cottage Welcome Sweet Babe 1828)
  • These pillows or cushions are commonly referred to as christening pillows or cushions.  Brandt & Cullman tell us that these wonderful pin cushions were hung on the front door to announce the arrival of a baby to friends and neighbors.1  I suspect all three of the pillows I am listing today were given as gifts to the newborn's mother and were kept indoors.  There is no indication that any ever had a ribbon for hanging and all three are quite heavy from the straw stuffing.

    Steel pins form the sentiment


    The pins are handmade in two parts.  First, a wire was drawn, straightened, cut, one end was sharpened. And the other was ground to accept the the head.  Then a handmade head was added (if you look with a loupe you can see that the head fits like a collar around the straight pin).  Finally the entire pin was polished and the pins were placed in a paper packet for sale.  By 1776, American pin factories were turning out 5000 pins per day.2  

    This beautiful little pillow is hand sewn from a buff-colored woven fabric.  I'm not entirely certain what type of fabric this is, but I suspect it is a lightweight wool.  The pillow is stuffed with hard straw.  Condition is very good with light overall soiling, one small round stain and a few tiny rust stains on the back (see last photo).  There are a few missing pins at the top edge at about 8:30 o'clock, a few missing from the scalloped design around the side edge at about 8 o'clock.  It also looks as if there used to be pins in each corner from top to bottom, but no more.  It measures 5" x 5" x a hefty 2 1/2" deep.  Circa 1828.  This pillow is a real gem, as are the other two pillows that I'm listing today.

    (#5106)     Sold

    1Brant, Sandra & Cullman, Elissa, Small Folk A Celebration of Childhood in America.  E.P. Dutton, New York, 1980.  43.

    2How Products Are Made::Volume 7, Straight Pin.  http://www.madehow.com/Volume-7/Straight-Pin.html

    Please see the Christening or Birth Pillows page for more information about these rare survivors.