Civil War Period Man’s Smoking Cap


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Civil War Period Man’s Smoking Cap – Smoking caps like this one were  commonly seen in Civil War soldier’s camps. Certainly the discriminating officer or NCO, during long hours in camp, would don their smoking caps and indulge in either a cigar or pipe. This cap is completely hand sewn and decoratively, hand embroidered. The exterior of the cap is constructed of a bright, red wool, hand sewn together, in sections; the exterior crown is topped with a button, covered in a yellow, fancy cotton tape; suspended from this button is a length of fancy, yellow, woven cotton, from which hangs a yellow yarn tassel. Surrounding the exterior of the cap’s brim, are two lengths of yellow, cotton taping, woven in a decorative pattern and bordered, circumferentially, top and bottom, with the same yellow taping.

The interior is lined with a cream-colored cotton, also completely hand sewn. The cap remains in overall fine condition; there are a few, very small, almost unnoticeable, insect nips in the exterior wool; the interior cotton lining is in excellent condition. This is a great, American made smoking cap of the antebellum to Civil War period.

Diameter of the cap: 7.25”

“Many of the lady’s fashion publications of the nineteenth century devoted pages to fancy designs for at home fashions for the refined Victorian gentleman – house robes, slippers, and especially smoking caps. A smoking cap or lounging cap was popular as informal gentleman’s wear from the late 1840s through the 1880s. They were originally worn to keep the head warm in drafty rooms but continued to be in style long after improvements in heating eliminated their necessity. The smoking cap was the perfect gift for a young lady to embroider for her fiancé or for a wife to create for her husband.

Smoking caps, for home use, were brightly colored, ornate, and often bordering on gaudy. They were frequently made at home and were uncomplicated in construction, typically fashioned of wool, silk or velvet and topped with a multicolored tassel.  Notably, the Victorian smoking cap showcased a multiplicity of Victorian needlework skills and techniques.” **

** Victoriana Magazine