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Vintage Housekeeping and Cooking Tea Towels

July 4, 2016

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For decades designers have thought that it would be a great idea to inspire the cooking housewife in the home, by putting recipes onto tea towels and linens. Imagine the scenario… you completely run out of ideas as to what to make for the family dinner, well worry no more, dust off the tea towel and there’s your answer, ingredients and all ! Of course that doesn’t help you out the next day when you have the same problem all over again, unless that is,  you have a drawer full of these beauties lol

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Cooking and washing up go hand in hand, whatever country you happen to be in. You can even be inspired to go global and make a Goulash or Curry as a complete change to the British meat and two vegetables ensemble!

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Such was the popularity of the idea, that there were hundreds of variations made.

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Over many different time periods.

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And in many different countries. I’m sure you ladies will all be flocking to get a copy of the Housewife’s Arms below.. with the inspirational motto ” Labour without ceasing”. I am hoping if that was meant to be tongue-in-cheek ?

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It appears (from the design above) that Sunday is the only day of rest for the working housewife, and perhaps the saying ‘ a woman’s work is never done’ would be somewhere nearer the truth.

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I do find the quotes on these towels rather amusing.

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Great designs and educational too.

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I bet this Happy New Year 1968 tea towel just bursting with advertisements for Colgate & Palmolive, went down an absolute storm ! But seriously, who wants to be reminded about cleaning products all year round ? Really !

However, I do think some of these much more modern illustrations (below) would make some fetching new tea towel designs.

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Many thanks to Cindy over at NeatoKeen for selecting most of the images used in this post, from her vast collection of vintage linens. Also for coming up with the idea for this blog in the first place.  May our collaborations long continue : )




12 Comments leave one →
  1. alibrookes permalink
    July 4, 2016 2:13 pm

    Hooray for tea towels – you can’t beat a good ol’ tea towel! I love the one depicting the fruit and veg lady! Great post.

    • July 4, 2016 6:02 pm

      Thanks Ali, yes I like her friendly smile too. Reminds me of Mr Benn illustration in a weird way : )

  2. July 4, 2016 2:16 pm

    Good post. Some of these designs are too busy for my taste but I totally love many of them. One of my grandmothers had a bunch of tea towels with recipes on them. I assumed they had been promotional giveaways.

    • July 4, 2016 6:03 pm

      Thanks Laura. Yes I prefer the 60’s one s to the 40’s style they get too fussy for me too. Still fun to see and they raise a smile too : )

  3. neatokeenetsy permalink
    July 4, 2016 10:54 pm

    Awesome post, Craig. Thank you for making my tea towels look so good! I love the modern towel designs, too.

    • July 5, 2016 9:28 pm

      Always a pleasure Cindy. Lets hope we can collaborate long into the future : )

  4. July 6, 2016 6:33 pm

    Are the illustrations of the mixer/mixing bowls your work? Nice.

  5. July 7, 2016 4:09 am

    Reblogged this on vintageatoz and commented:
    Charming Read!

  6. July 8, 2016 11:48 pm

    Marvelous collection! The 50s and 60s were certainly the heyday of tea towels and these are fabulous examples.

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