|Silk Embroidered Trimming|
Made by Houldsworth & Co. for the 1853 Dublin Exhibition
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The section of trimming that we see pictured above would have been used as upholstery edging. However, the real reason that this band was made was to demonstrate the capabilities of Henry Houldsworth’s embroidery machine.
Henry Houldsworth--a Manchester silk spinner, purchased his first industrial embroidery machine in 1829. Along with the machine, he purchased the British patent rights from Mulhouse in France, where it had been invented in 1828.
Houldsworth and a fellow manufacturer, Louis Schwabe, worked together to improve the machine. By 1834, the duo had perfected the machine to their satisfaction. Schwabe's first successful use of the machine concentrated on embroidery for theatrical costumes, especially men's waistcoats.
After Schwabe's death in 1845, Houldsworth took over the business. From this time it was known as Houldsworth & Co. The company would become the leading manufacturer of machine embroidery in Britain, exhibiting their wares at the Great Exhibition of 1851.