Buckram and Waddings in the early 1900's

Buckram cloth has been around since the middle ages, although it used to be known as “Bokeram” which was a fine cotton cloth and not a stiffening cloth as we know Buckram to be today. It is believed the manufacture of Buckram changed in the early 1900’s and in the census of 1901 and 1911 a “Buckram Maker” was listed as an occupation.

In the early 1900’s Buckram would have been used to provide shapes to garments including collars and lapels, the stiffening of hats, purses, bags and belts and also used in the manufacture of book covers both front and back.

Buckram and Waddings in the early 1900'sAs you can see from this image taken from a wholesale price list dated 1910, the range of Buckram was very limited to three different weights: “A” Medium, “B” Stout and “C” Extra Stout compared to the numerous different weights available today which range from glued and non-glued and offered in single-ply, double-ply and heavy. However even in 1910 all three weights were offered in black and white, 27inches wide and purchased by the retailer in 12yard pieces. Prices stated in shillings(s) and pence(d) ranged from 4/9 to 5/11 for each 12yard piece and when converted into today’s prices this would be worth £19.00 to £23.00. However adding on 100 years of inflation this actually would be worth slightly upwards of approximately £60.

In addition to Buckram, Waddings were also used to line, reinforce and pad garments. In 1910 Waddings were available in two “Patent” qualities, number 1 Super Quality and No 2 Quality. Wadding weights ranged from extra fine to extra heavy and in black and grey, bleached and non-bleached. The retailer purchased wadding in 12yard pieces and if the retailer was limited for space, a self-service or pre-pack quantity of a dozen sheets were available to purchase with each sheet measuring 1¾yards in length. Wadding wholesale prices in 1910 for a 12yard quality wadding started from 1s/8d to 4s/4d, equal to £7.00 to £17.00 today without taking into account 100 years of inflation.