It may seem a relatively simple idea to use a piece of fabric to cover your table but history shows us that there is more to it than that.....
In Medieval Times for example, a high quality white linen or cotton cloth was an important part of their feasting rituals in wealthy households. Over time this idea spread to all classes and during the 20th Century a much bigger range of table settings and tablecloth fabrics developed.
Linen fabrics are woven from the flax plant and date back to ancient Egypt, where it was used as material for clothing and wrapping mummies whereas today of course it is a highly popular material for lots of household linens.
Damasks originate from Damascus in Syria and are produced by special weaving techniques whilst Irish Linens have been an important part of Ireland's economy since the 17th and 18th Century.
During Queen Victoria's reign table linens were very highly decorated in dark colours such as red, dark blue or gold with a regal design, usually fringed and made of thick heavy fabrics like damask and velvet. The colours were usually dictated by the availability of textile dyes, which were later in short supply following World War I trade blockages, as many of these dyes were produced in Germany.
The Art Deco period of the 1920's brought us new designs in Oriental, Egyptian and Aztec themes, and following the War Years, probably fed up with austerity and making do, people wanted something more decorative and light hearted. Floral and animal prints on white textiles became very popular and many of these tablecloths have now become the vintage styles of today and are highly collectible.
Nowadays of course, we have such a lot of choice and can make our selection from many patterns and designs in any colour we choose, on all sorts of textiles and fabrics such as cottons, linens, Jacquards, vinyl, oilcloth and pvc, not forgetting the increasing popularity of our very own acrylic coated wipe clean tablecloth fabrics.