Tea towels View full size

Tea towels

In 18th century England, a tea towel was a special linen drying cloth used by the mistress of the house to dry her precious and expensive china tea things. Servants were considered too clumsy to be trusted with such a delicate job, although housemaids were charged with hand-hemming the woven linen.

Tea towels have been mass-produced since the Industrial Revolution., but it is hard to find simple good quality traditonal linen ones since brightly illustrated ones became in vogue.

Most of our vintage tea towels are linen: From the classic glass cloths - mostly from Irish linen - to ones with simple colour or multi-colour bands.

Bark cloth was popular up until the 1960s, when cotton started to replace it. Now, most tea towels are highly decorative, some celebrating events or brands. That trend was followed by Taunton Vale with their powerful flowerpower designs.

13 items in stock


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