For discussions of lace history and lace identification.  You can post a photo into a comment box for a lace you want to discuss.  Bobblin lace history.  About historic lace. Kinds of lace.  Distinguish types of lace.

We can identify a piece of lace for you, but we need good detail.  At least one photo with this kind of detail is necessary.  Otherwise we are just guessing.  A shot of the whole thing is useful because that shows us the style.  Style gives us clues to date and possibly geographical origin.  But we need the detail shot to tell us how it was made.

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Examples + Resources


Jean Leader's new website, different types of lace -

To compare needle lace, tatting and crochet, Kathleen Minniti's sampler.

My antique lace boards on Pinterest 

My collection of boards on Pinterest 

Jo Edkins lace collection online:

Laces compared:

A university based website specializing in the social history attached to lacemaking


 Bobbin lace    antiquebobbinlace     bobbinlace3     Needle lace    needlelace2 

For recognizing Swedish bobbin lace:

Tatting     tatting2   tatting3      

Filet lace    filetlace2    filetlace3   filet lace4    Buratto 

Sol lace   sollace2   sol lace3

Knitted lace    knittedlace2     Crochet lace        Irish crochet lace      IrishCrochet2      


Bobbin tape lace  bobbin tape lace 2   

Mixed tape lace-machinetape      Romanian needlepoint lace  


Embroidery on tulle-needlerun      Embroidery on tulle-tambour        Carrickmacross  



This is what it takes to make a cloth stitch strip with a machine. I don't know which machine this is. ;

Chemical lace   ChemicalLace2  chemical lace3     chemical lace4     

See this for a technical explanation of the chemical lace process.

Barmen machine lace        Raschel machine lace     Leavers machine

machine1 (not sure what machine) a booklet which purports to distinguish machine from hand made laces. Some of the diagrams of typical machine structural elements are quite good. But too many of the comparison photos do not have enough detail to verify whether they are in fact machine made or hand made. The photos don't all show the individual threads. Still, the booklet is useful for the diagrams and descriptions of the various machine laces.




The Koon collection CD is a collection of images from the Eunice Sein Koon
Collection of Lace donated to IOLI by Ms. Koon. Ms. Koon was the editor of
Lace Craft Quarterly and a collector of lace.  It is not related to the
Minnesota collection to the best of my knowledge.  The CD is a series of
Powerpoint slides organized as the collection pieces are numbered.  There
are approximately 100 pieces of various types of lace in the Koon
collection.  Pictures from the CD could be copied and pasted into another
Powerpoint presentation, or the images could be used to request pieces of
lace from the collection for study by IOLI members.  Policy for use of this
lace is described on p. 58 of the IOLI Member Handbook. -- Jo Ann Eurell


The IOLI - Internation Organization of Lace, Inc. has a study box of lace fragments that members can borrow.  

(I am searching for a link)

IOLI also has a lending library for members' use

A site with good photos of high quality antique laces: ;

Discussion Forum

Lacemaking history 6 Replies

Please, does anyone know for sure how lace tokens were used in Great Britain in the 1700s?I have read theories that the tokens were given in lieu of governmental coinage due to a coin shortage, but…Continue

Started by Laurie Elliott. Last reply by Laurie Waters May 13.

Mystery technique 6 Replies

Someone has contacted the New England Lace Group to ask for help identifying the technique used to make a shawl, the fiber used and how best to repair it. The first problem is actually figuring out…Continue

Started by Jill Hawkins. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Feb 10.

History of Lacemaking 3 Replies

A friend has been asked to make a presentation about the history of lacemaking. She asked about reference books for her preparation.  My suggestion is An Early Lace Workbook by Rosemary…Continue

Started by Sally Olsen. Last reply by Lorelei Halley Administrator Jan 31.

Identification of two pieces of lace 27 Replies

My sister-in-law bought two pieces of lace while in Bize (southern France). She wants me to identify them. I assumed to start with that they are machine made, but I've looked carefully at them and…Continue

Started by Jo Edkins. Last reply by Jo Edkins Oct 13, 2019.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Identification-History to add comments!

Comment by Carolina de la Guardia on June 19, 2019 at 12:57am

Here the are my thoughts about this piece.

When Nancy mentioned Leni Matthaei, come to my mind the book I have in my shelves LENI MATTHAEI by Inge Mühlensiepen. The book is in German, so I cannot understand the text.

This lady born in Hamburg about 1873,  She did not design a specific type of lace, she used her knowledge on lace to express herself into the avant garde movement in 1920’s. 

The piece we are talking here is very special in the  sense that cannot be categorized in any specific style of lace. For me one of the things that call my attention is the bars ground. These are not plaited bars, they are linen stitch bars.

In the picture uses this characteristic which is the same as in the hanky.

 She  made this so modern work in her years of maturity, designing more traditional draws in her youth, probably according with design fashion.

Comment by Carolina de la Guardia on June 19, 2019 at 12:33am
Comment by Nancy A. Neff on June 18, 2019 at 7:45pm
Comment by Nancy A. Neff on June 18, 2019 at 7:37pm

I shouldn't have said it might be Le Puy -- there are no leaves, and leaves are a major design elements in the Cluny/Beds/Maltese family. I don't know a name for the German lace I remember. One of them is this one:, and another is:

I've checked but I don't own either of them so I can't look inside to see if I'm remembering correctly, but the lace on the cover of the second one looks like the Cluny/Beds family with those leaves so maybe I'm on the wrong track.

Comment by Devon Thein on June 18, 2019 at 3:44pm

Nancy, could you point me toward these German bobbin lace books? Yes, I think if we decide this is a Cluny/Beds/Maltese lace then we have to start wondering where it was made. Any other thoughts?

Comment by Nancy A. Neff on June 18, 2019 at 3:12pm

Yes, it's either a Le Puy en Velay France or from elsewhere in the continent--I'd say now that I think about it that it's probably German. I've seen very similar lace, including that ground, in German bobbin lace books from the very late 1800's and early 1900's, I think similarly without a gimp. However, see Lorelei Halley's page on guipure straight laces -- she's much less specific in country of origin:

This one I'd be reluctant to put a single-word label to it, but I'd describe it as a late 19th C straight lace, probably German, with a woven-bar ground, with solid cloth-stitch motifs, and no gimp. There doesn't look like there's any half stitch in the whole piece -- is that right?

BTW, the other reason it's certainly not Honiton type of lace is that the edges of the cloth-stitched motifs don't show the Honiton structure of an edging pin-under-4, then a single heavy thread in the outermost pair around the edge of the cloth-stitch. 

(It seems peculiar to me to talk about a straight lace being a guipure lace, since I thought guipures were added between motifs, hence were only in part laces, but I evidently must go look at some definitions...)

Comment by Nancy A. Neff on June 18, 2019 at 2:52pm

Honiton is a part lace, whereas Beds is a straight lace. In Honiton, the grounds are worked by hanging new pairs on the edges of the motifs. It's amazing but this piece looks like a straight lace to me -- I haven't been able to find in any of your pictures anyplace where the threads at a join didn't run from the cloth-stitch of one side into the braid or cloth-stitch of the other side. Besides, why would there be a visible join if the lace hadn't been made with the motifs and the grounds integral, made at the same time -- so we know it's a straight lace.

Aren't there some unusual grounds in Cluny Le Puy laces? I will look, if I can get to those books.

Anyway, the one thing I'd say for sure that it isn't the Honiton type of lace, regardless of where it was made. It IS a straight lace.

Comment by Laura Sandison on June 18, 2019 at 2:49pm

My initial thought was also Beds. I can't say why, other than the flow of the design. The thing I don't like is the headside edge. But then again,it may be experimental and a show or custom piece. It is pretty phenomenal!

Comment by Devon Thein on June 18, 2019 at 10:01am

Now that I am thinking about it...maybe Bedfordshire lace? More photos of 48.187.645.

Comment by Laura Sandison on June 18, 2019 at 9:25am

This is a very interesting piece, Devon. I'm very curious about it, too! It is quite stunning, and well designed and executed. Might have to be on a viewing list sometime.


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