Two Bedcovers: (left) produced at John Hewson's factory in Philadelphia; considered the finest example of early American block printing / (right) made by Zibiah Smallwood Hewson (wife of John Hewson); center and possibly other textiles printed by John Hewson (via Philadelphia Museum of Art)
John Hewson was the first printer of calico fabrics in the American Colonies and a Revolutionary War hero (read his account of escaping "to the Jerseys" after the jump). He held what were considered "extremist political views" in his native England and with the help of Benjamin Franklin, he came to Philadelphia where he settled in my mother's old neighborhood.
"He opened a calico printing factory in 1774, near the Delaware River at the foot of Gunner’s Run, now Aramingo Avenue. At that time Richmond Street was called Point-no-Point Road, and Hewson’s address was listed on the Point Road. As closely as we can currently estimate, Hewson’s place was located where (surprise! surprise!) Hewson Street, named for him, begins today.
Not only was Hewson the first calico fabric printer in the colonies, his work was also of the highest quality. According to scholars of textile history, Hewson’s textiles were unmatched in America at that time, and rivaled those of Europe. His chintz fabrics made him famous and were printed with wood blocks; a different one was used for each of the seven colors in his palette; pink, red, blue, yellow, black and brown. Green colors were added by “pencilling” in blue and yellow dyes." (via Historical Society of Pennsylvania)