Early in my estate-sale-hunting life, I discovered vintage linen tea towels. It seemed that every home I entered had a stash of vintage linen tea towels — unused — many still with their labels — finally unpacked from a drawer and now for sale. These also are abundant on ebay, at very reasonable prices.
Most importantly: Linen kitchen towels really soak up the water. They dry fast. Yes, they fade as you wash them — but, they get softer and softer and still retain their absorbency. Indeed: Nothing Dries Like Linen!
I use them every single day, exclusively, as kitchen towels.
I will guess they came to be known as “tea towels” because… what?… they were used by the Mrs. when she served tea?
Hmmm. All I know is that they work great as daily kitchen towels. Don’t keep them packed away! Use them!
Above: Some designs resemble Thibault murals.
Back in the day, popular makers of linen tea towels seem to have included:
- Parisian Prints — this was the biggie, I *think*.
- Kay Dee
- Tammis Keefe — glorious!
- Vera Neumann — glorious!!
- Fallani & Cohn (thanks, Janet!)
- You also saw custom made as location-based souvenir towels and labeled as such.
- And… as special event souvenir towels (thanks, J D!)
- They also were sold as calendars.
- Who else made them?
I love vintage tea towels. How about you?