Aug 20, 2009

Red ticking

The deep red striped mattress tickings and other tickings with saturated colors are from the Alsace region of France and the neighboring regions of Germany. The Alsace-Lorraine region became part of France by the 1500s, but was later twice annexed by Germany - from 1870-1919 and again from 1940-1945. Because of this intertwined history between Alsace-Lorraine and nearby Germany, there were cultural cross-overs as well as a similarity in the textiles produced on both sides of the border. This area had many textile manufacturing companies that produced a variety of both printed textiles and woven mattress tickings.
The deeply-saturated red and blue tickings in heavy woven cotton stripes were the coverings for featherbeds and for duvets. Many of the more intricately striped tickings, found only in smaller sizes, were used for down pillows and cushions and not for the larger featherbeds.
Because feathers cannot be imported into the USA, all red tickings and other Alsace tickings must be cleared of their feathers and washed at least twice before trying to pass through US Customs. These stringent rules affect the availability and the quality of red tickings in the USA. (Note: I have noticed various online vendors of French red tickings giving their origin as "Provence" or "France." Technically, "France" is correct, but these red tickings are only from the region of Alsace.)
Below are photos of several Alsatian tickings.