I have recently been working on translating some Victorian knitting and Crochet patterns into instructions that my contemporary crafters might be able to follow. As I go about my research and collection of Victorian era women’s magazines I do sometimes come across words which are foreign to me. I thought that I would begin to share them here with you.
Today’s word is Antimacassar.
The Collins dictionary definition is:
Noun. cloth covering the back and arms of chairs etc to prevent soiling or as decoration (C19: anti + macassar )
The C19 means 19th Century if you didn’t know.
So I went further and had a look at what macassar meant. Again this definition is from the Collins Dictionary
Macassar – Macassar oil – an oily preparation formerly put on the hair to make it smooth and shiny.
And so now the picture begins to make more sense. The antimacassar is a covering made of some sort of fabric, in the case of my patterns predominantly crochet, which is used to protect furniture from hair oil. And no doubt also as a form of decoration. Now that I think about it I have definitly seen modern variations of these in aeroplanes and on busses, I just didn’t know what to call them!
Here are some pictures that I found.
This is an image with a crochet Antimacassar. The image is from Bristol Museums.
This is a fabric and lace Antimacassar. Photo from Wiki.
I hope that you enjoyed this post.
Peace and Love,