Thursday, April 24, 2014

Celebrating Science: Solar Systems & Space

Another theme running through the mid-20th-century was
space age imagery.

More 1960s than 1950s,
the post-Sputnik enthusiasm for space travel
inspired designers.

Decorating print

Satellites orbiting the earth was the theme for the 
1964-5 New York World's Fair.

"The Satellite. Why Reds Got it First.
What Happens Next?" 1957.

Space travel became a cold-war issue.

By the sixties the era of skillful abstraction was coming to
an end. More literal prints might be militaristic
or designed for the juvenile market.

Wrapping paper

Drapes & Bedspread

"Solar System" by Sarah Ellen Harding Baker, 1876, Iowa
Collection of the Smithsonian
See more here:

Because I found so few interesting space prints I thought I'd show 
some quilts with a solar system theme.

Unknown maker, possibly 19th century, featured on an online auction site.

Unknown maker, maybe the 1960s... [or earlier]
The ever reliable Merikay Waldvogel writes:

This quilt is made from an Anne Orr hot-transfer pattern.  It is based on the third prize winning quilt "Universal Progress" in the 1939 World of Tomorrow Quilt Contest (Good Housekeeping).  The Aug 1939 issue included the photos of the three winning quilts and offered a hot-iron transfer for each one.  The original winning quilt was made by Mrs. W. E. DeNeff of Spokane, Washington. 

Thank you Merikay!


  1. Hard to believe it's been 50 years since the '64 World's Fair. My first view of the Pieta...wish I still had the atomic print bedspread on my childhood bed..turquoise, pink brown and gold.

    1. I feel the same way, Bonnie! My favorite memory from the fair is the Pieta! And we got our first glimpse of the Mustang!!