The Fine Art and Craft of 1960s Wallpaper Manufacturing

This short film from 1968 demonstrates the newest technologies in wallpaper manufacturing, the narrator exclaiming that some of the processes found in the footage are nearly science fiction! The almost 50-year-old video demonstrates factory workers etching designs into sycamore wood, hand mixing large batches of psychedelic colors, and observing machines as they automatically screen print complicated patterns onto long stretches of wallpaper.

The film was shot at a factory in Perivale, just ten miles west of London. All of the wallpaper designs found in the video are garish and bright, shot in a time when people were intent on matching their wallpaper to their curtains, couch coverings, and clothing. One particular shot shows a woman reading a magazine at home amongst her patterns, demonstrating how pervasive prints were in the home during the time period.

Continuing with a nearly poetic cadence the narrator ends the short video exclaiming, “Designs in profusion, kaleidoscopic colors—interior decorating has come a long way since father first papered the parlor!” British PathĂ©, a once leader in cinematic journalism, has uploaded several thousands films like this one to Youtube. Make sure to search their channel for other historic documentation of cultural events from curtains to political crises.

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