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.
Comforts. The history of the manufacture of comforts, or "bed comfortables " as they were styled formerly, is an interesting one. For seventeen years the machine-made article has been turned out with constantly increasing improvement in the process of manufacture, but previous to that the old quilting frame and later the sewing machine were utilized, and nearly every family made their comforts at home. Now, the machinemade comfort is produced at so low a figure that but few housewives take the time to make them by hand, to say nothing of the expense which would in all probability be more than it would cost to buy them ready-made. With the increase in the output of factory goods, has followed in turn a falling off in the sale of cotton bats to the trade, which were formerly so largely in demand by the ladies of this country in the making up of the article referred to. It is estimated that about 3,000,000 machine-made comforters pass into consumption annually, and as the average wholesale price is about 81.00, a very fair idea of the volume of business consumated each year can be formed. Prices range from 84 to 860 per dozen, the latter being of silk and down, and the former composed of the dust and shoddy of woolen mills. Sizes run from 60x72 up to 78x84 inches, but the average and best selling size is 75x78 inches. The fabrics of which comforts are made are all printed specially for the purpose and on very wide cloth. Prints are largely used, though satteen covering is increasing in use year by year. Down comforts are the best as well as the most expensive variety manufactured. Formerly all down comforts were imported and the high price of the foreign-made article placed it among the luxuries which were only within the reach of the well-to-do. Now, however, with improved machinery and a larger demand United States manufacturers are able to produce a down comfort which can be retailed for 85, bringing this beautiful and most comfortable of comforts within the reach of the average housekeeper.