For A Few Sacks More

Large sack made from cotton with a printed checked design in brown, dark red, green and orange. With barcode. USA, 1960's (TRC 2017.3013). Large sack made from cotton with a printed checked design in brown, dark red, green and orange. With barcode. USA, 1960's (TRC 2017.3013).
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6. Feedsacks in the 1960’s and later

By the 1960’s, the increased diversity and cheapness of paper and plastics for commodity packaging meant that feedsacks were no longer widely used. Slowly most of the sacks vanished from the shelves and wardrobes, and in some cases, peoples’ memories. But from 1970’s books about the Depression became more popular, including reminiscences of daily life and the use of feedsacks. More and more personal reminiscences were collected by American institutes, such as the National Museum of American History (Washington, D.C). They also collected feedsacks and related objects, as well as oral history, and developed archives relating to the history and use of feedsacks.

There were some movements to bring back decorative feedsacks and examples would be especially printed for conferences and meetings. They can be identified by the labels, especially those for flour, including far more nutritional information than was normal in the 1950’s, as well as items such as bar codes, which were introduced to the general public in the early 1990’s thanks to the development of equipment that could scan and read the codes.

The main exception to the general decline of the use of feedsacks is formed by the quilt makers, who have long been using feedsack cloth for making bed quilts of one form or another. The (re) use of old quilt tops and full quilts is more popular than ever and in some cases older tops are totally re-quilted and given a new life.

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