Philadelphia As Destination for Textile Talent

Contributed by: Kenneth Finkel

William Horstmann left the textile center of Kassel, Germany for France, where he learned silk-weaving before immigrating to Philadelphia in 1815. Here, the established German community (which included the fringe, coach-lace and tassel maker Frederick Hoeckly, Horstmann’s father-in-law-to-be) proved a welcoming and Horstmann stayed put, introducing braiding machines in 1824 and the Jacquard loom a year later. By the 1840s, Wm. H. Horstmann & Sons had its own 6-story mill at 5th and Cherry Streets (where the National Constitution Center now stands) and a shop (illustrated) a few blocks away at 51 North 3rd Street. By then, Horstmann was long known for laces, fringes, epaulettes, swords, sashes, buttons, laces, chapeaux, holsters, saddle-cloths, banners, flags, embroideries, cords, tassels, fringes, buttons, gimps, bindings, and braids.

Link for Jacquard loom:

Link for Wm. H. Horstmann & Sons:


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