Thomas Strahan

About Thomas Strahan - Introduction to the 1938 Collection

The use of paper as a wall covering had its origin in the sixteenth century when paper, in the form of small sheets, was printed by hand with the use of wood blocks. It was not until the second half of the eighteenth century that wall paper really rose to heights of artistic and technical perfection.

Then, inspired by Jean Papillion in France and by John Baptiste Jackson in England, determined efforts were made to overcome the inadequacy off the existing facilities for production.

Wilhelm Oberkampff, a cloth printer of Jouy, developed a printing machine equipped with rollers which, when adapted for paper printing, revolutionized the making of wall paper. Reveillon evolved a process of printing with size colors, and towards the close of the century Louis Robert of Essone invented a machine capable of printing continuous rolls instead of the customary small sheets. There after the growth of the industry was rapid and it was well established in the United States by the time of the Civil War.

In the early 1880's Thomas Strahan was a wall paper retailer in Boston, Massachusetts. Of an artistic temperament, he had his own ideas of design and color, and finding that he could not obtain wall papers approaching his decorative standards, he organized, in 1886, the Thomas Strahan Company, and began the manufacture of fine wall papers at Chelsea, Massachusetts. From that day to this the business has been continued with but one aim in mind, namely, to produce wall papers which those of the most fastidious tastes would find of artistic merit and which would lend distinction whenever used. Some of the Strahan Reproductions are made by hand; others are now made by machine. In addition to reproductions the Strahan line contains hundreds of papers in a wide variety of patterns and colorings adapted to use in every kind of room.

To those looking at this Album who long have been familiar with Strahan wall paper, what follows is unnecessary. However, may we say to our new friends that the Colonial Reproductions which they will see illustrated and whose life stories they will read in the following pages are made with the best paper, colors and workmanship that money can buy. Each is a faithful reproduction, made with the highest skill, of a wall paper first made long ago. The story of each is fact, not fiction.

While the patters speak for themselves, we feel that it would be unfair both to these reproductions and ourselves to attempt to describe here the several colorings in which each reproduction is made.

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For further information please contact:
Daniel Recoder, Vice President of Product Developement
Christopher Norman Collection