Origins

Guelph Turf Club Front

Guelph Turf Club 1894 Summer Races Ribbon (Obtained from the archives at the University of Guelph Library) 

The origins of this ribbon are difficult to trace. The manufacturer and the date of production are completely unknown as there are no visual clues on the ribbon to determine such information. However, the origins of the ribbon can be speculated upon. Ribbons come in many different forms and are produced with several different fabrics. Many of todays modern ribbons are created with synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon and acetate (Offray.com, 2015). Although some of these synthetic fibres were invented prior to the dated ribbon, they’re were not commercially used until the early to mid 20th century (Murphy, 2010).

So we can safely say that Guelph Turf Club ribbon was created using a natural fibre. Ribbons are produced using three different types of weaves which include; plain, satin and twill weaves. Plain weaves are flat, tight and accept dyes easily, most common type of weave. Satin weaves are similar but have a glossier finish and twill weaves are used for more tough, heavy and soil resistant fabrics such as denim (Offray.com, 2015).

Natural fibres such as flax, wool, cotton and silk were commonly used in ribbon manufacturing before synthetic fibres. Judging from the glossy finish of the ribbon and dated back to 1894 one could speculate that the ribbon was produced using silk and woven using the satin method. Most likely was created using a Jacquard-Loom which was invented around 1800 (Essinger, 2004). 

Jacquard invented a method of automatically lifting warp threads and to produce a pattern of woven cloth. There were machines invented prior to this one however, Jacquard’s loom worked using a punch card system which meant that different weaves could be produced using the same machine depending on what punch cards were in place (Essinger, 2004). Judging that the ribbon was dated 1894 its safe to assume that the use of the Jacquard loom was accurate as it was the best technology of the time. It is unknown the exact date of production but it was most likely produced around the time of the race and shipped to Guelph in time for the races for it intended purpose. It’s ephemeral value today lies in the fact that it is a part of the Sleeman ribbon collection and hold historical significance in the city of Guelph.