Museum Homepage

The San Mateo County Historical Association
Online Collections Database

The mission of the San Mateo County Historical Association is to inspire wonder and discovery
of the cultural and natural history of San Mateo County.

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 1983.146.002
Description Lace Table Runner, n.d. Black machine made lace runner with a small uniform and repeating floral and leaf pattern on a decorative knot tied fish net background, trimmed with a sewn on decorative black machine made lace border. Outer border is a tear drop and triangular pattern with a diamond of four smaller diamonds with dots in the centers between. The outer border is sewn to the central rectangular lace at each side and with mitered corners.
Object Name Runner, Table
Collection 3D - Household Accessories
Title Lace Table Runner, n.d.
Date n.d.
Creator Unknown
Role Fiber Artist
Inscription Text none
Notes "The table runner was born in the Middle Ages, mainly because medieval folks were sloppy. The tablecloth was considered an aristocratic innovation, but it needed protection from lively and careless royal revelers who spilled, drooled and made a mess! No doubt, the wise women responsible for laundering linens came up with the innovative idea for the table runner in an effort to save the tablecloths from unnecessary laundering. Napkins were also invented because it was no longer considered acceptable to wipe your mouth on the tablecloth.
These ingenious long, narrow pieces of cloth now known as "table runners" were placed over the tablecloths. They were gathered up at the end of the meal for washing and the tablecloths remained intact and clean. The table runner along with tablecloths became fixtures in everyone's collection of linens by the 15th century." [ 3/16/2017]

Table runner is "[a special kind of tablecloth] that overhangs the table at two ends only". [ 3/16/2017]

Dimensions H-85 W-18 inches
Medium Textile
Search Terms Household Goods
Subjects Table settings & decorations