This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
The foundations or piers of the bridge are made of rolls of cloth, but could also be made of boxes covered with cotton dashed with paint to imitate stone work. Across these two supports, planks are laid, and faced, as shown in the cut, with cards containing ties, buttons, or anything which comes conveniently mounted. The arches are more complicated, but a description of one front will serve for the whole arch. Take the front of an arch as it faces us. The first thing is to erect a frame, which is nothing but two light pieces of wood, of two or two-and-a-half inches in width, connected at the top by a piece of similar material the width the arch is to be made. Now take undershirts or any similar article and place them horizontally one above the other up each of the side strips of the frame. The space between the two strips may be filled by piling one on the other, undershirts doubled up with the front outward, or else slats may be tacked across the frame and shirts hung across these from top to bottom. It will be observed that the width of your arch must be the width of the shirts or whatever you intend to display between. Practically, then, each side of the arch is made on this wise: a row of shirts turned about an upright pole, to the right of which is a row of white or other shirts suspended upon lath or rails so as to show the entire front. The other upright of the frame to be treated similarly with the row of shirts on the left of the upright pole. This gives you two uprights of the frame covered, and a row of shirts on each side of the inside space between the arch. The space remaining between these two rows is to be filled up by goods folded to show their greatest bulk, or goods hung to overlap from slats tacked on for the purpose. Each side of the arch is similarly treated. Of course the rear of the bridge not being visible needs no decoration. The water beneath is nothing but blue cambric dashed with white paint and picked up in imitation of waves. The tower on the left is of course only a half section needing no more than to present a brave front. The construction of the frame is suggested by the outline. The frame is first covered with stout paper, and then cards of buttons, ties, etc., are tacked on as shown in the cut. All this means work, but of course those who go to the trouble of preparing the frames will find further use for them in future windows.
The piers are cuffs; the floor is four five-plaited shirts, which must be supported by a piece of heavy pasteboard or two slats; umbrellas or canes can be put in the cuffs (or piers) for a finish; the suspending wires are narrow black ties; the diagonal stays are narrow white ties; the cables are red or white silk pongee handkerchiefs slightly basted together and then rolled; the railing is carded cuff buttons; the shore-ends of cuff boxes. Some blue silk handkerchiefs underneath would make a good finish, while other features could be introduced as might be suggested by such goods are in stock.
In the top of the window, take light-blue cambric or calico and form it into a puffy, cloudy background, which may be extended from the top down over the back to the bottom, if desired. The construction of the bridge is as follows : Take two boxes of the same height and two feet square. They should not be too high to prevent people from seeing the floor of the bridge from the outside. Cover the boxes with a foundation-cloth, to which the goods that are to form the piers are to be attached. Handkerchiefs can be pinned to the boxes, one of which forms the main foundation at each end. At each corner of the boxes nail an upright piece four feet long, these will extend two feet higher than the boxes, and will furnish the supports from which to run the upper cables. The floor is made by laying a board covered with gray cambric from one box to the other. The cables, one on each side, can be made of spool cotton strung on strong twine, the ends being tacked to the ends of the inside uprights, and the center allowed to sag. On each side of the bridge-floor should be stretched from one side to the other a lace of appropriate width to serve as railings. From the ends of the cables to the floor of the bridge an open-work lace should be stretched, to serve as braces, the picture of the bridge on Pg 504 being a guide to this. Underneath, for the water of the river, silks may be rumpled. If you have in stock, or can borrow from your neighbors, toy steamboats, horses and wagons, men and women, they may be so placed as to add to the realism of the representation. This is not a difficult design to execute and will attract great attention.