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.
First secure screw-eyes to the center of the store ceiling, from front to back. These should be at equal distances apart—say from 4 to 6 feet. Take cheap umbrellas, open them, and decorate the cover with tissue-paper, which should be crushed or made into rare-colored rolls. Then with tinsel fringe droop loosely from rib to rib on the inside. Now pass a strong cord around the ferrule, and fasten the screw-eye. From each screw-eye attach wire running to shelving, on which may be pinned handkerchiefs, hosiery, gloves, and all light-weight articles ; this will produce an arched effect through the center of the store. Between each of the arches, over the shelving, display the heavier grade of goods. A very pretty effect is to make a half-circle of lumber and brace to the wall, from which drape lace curtains or fancy portieres after the manner of a canopy; the interior filled in with dress patters arranged in forms, and such other articles as the dresser wishes to introduce.
The above forms an appropriate trim for the Fourth of July or other holiday, as flags and emblems may be secured to all parts of the sails and rigging. The hull should be made of boards sufficiently wide and long to suit the window. No elaborate model of a ship's hull is needed, as only one side is shown, and therefore only one section need be constructed. As this is entirely covered, the drapery can be made to hide any little defects, or so arranged as to remedy any flatness. A very simple way to make the hull is to take flat boards the required length, tack some cotton loosely upon them, and then stuff the cotton with paper or anything easily manipulated, to produce the swelled appearance of the ship's side. After the frame is made the hull is to be covered with overlapping material (silk, cotton or cambric, as the dresser chooses) so as to show three stripes, red, white and blue. For the sails a frame is first made of cotton hung between the gaff—the short piece of wood at the top of the mainsail—and the boom — the longer piece of wood at the bottom of the same sail. Upon this surface are pinned handkerchiefs somewhat as shown in the cut, though the order may be varied according to the taste. It will be found that bordered or colored handkerchiefs can be used effectively to produce designs, but white or bordered produce the best effect. The foresail is treated in a similar manner. Of course another sail can be added if desired. The gaff, boom, bowsprit and mast are wound about with colored ribbons. The cordage is composed of narrow ribbons. Additional cordage and streamers can be added to suit the taste. The circle in the centre of the mainsail is made with fans, two or four being used with contrasting colors. The water can be arranged by using light blue cambric, touched here and there with white paint, with balls of paper underneath to give the appearance of waves.
The wheels of the cannon are composed of two small buggy wheels, wrapped with pink and white cotton bunting. The carriage is of strips of wood covered in like manner. The barrel is of heavy pasteboards, sewed together. The figures upon either side are dummies, or large dolls. The frame-work at the rear of window is built around a mirror, and draped as in the illustration with cotton bunting of a bright color. Upon the floor and frame is exposed all sorts and varieties of infants' wear and white goods.
Sometimes a very imposing show is made entirely of curtains. The paper which is inserted to show up the pattern being of various colors, may be arranged to give good effect. Sides should be hung with a number of curtains falling from the ceiling, caught back at convenient height by a bright cord and tassel, tape, or ribbon. Each curtain so hung may stand out a few inches further than the one in front. Both sides of a square window being hung in this manner will produce a very graceful effect. A pillar may be hidden by hanging a curtain directly in front, caught together toward the bottom, having behind, to throw up the pattern, some bright cretonne, Turkey red, or flannel. A curtain will sometimes look well hanging back along the ceiling, allowed to droop in the center. The groundwork can be made up of rows in small piles, showing two or more doubled lengthwise, the same standing between.