Museum Textile- Silk conservation treatment of a Civil War General’s Tailcoat, JenniferHein Conservation

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General Lytle's wool topcoat worn in 1862, owned by the Cincinnati Museum Center, erroneously dry cleaned by the previous owner-collector. This visual illustrates the treatment of shattered silk and the results of textile conservation.


  • 1. General William Haines Lytles 1863 Civil War Tailcoat with silk velvet tunic collar and brown chintz map pockets under the tails Conserved and restored Military Coat lining for Cincinnati Museum Center by Jennifer Hein 2006
  • 2. Civil WarCMC Tailcoat Condition 2005 1863 Navy Boiled Wool Exterior & Shredded Black Silk Interior Lining with repair patch covers 2 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 3. Conserved upper back and restored tailcoat lining 3 Conservation of upper chest area Restoration of Tailcoat lining side panels Conservation of Tailcoat facing and brown chintz Map Pockets creased and folded in Tailcoat as originally designed, covered with transparent silk crepeline Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 4. Shredded Silk lining (before) then Encased or after treatment 4 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 5. General William Haines Lytles Civil War Tailcoat Lower Right and lower left waistband Before & After treatment photos 5 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 6. Civil War Military Tunic Tailcoat Inside lining area 6 The Center Back area is flattened only at this point. The 6 areas of the waist center back and sides are conserved with the stitching through the three layers as in a quilt. Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 7. CW Coat Top back white areas are missing lining 7 Analysis showed typical sandwich quilting treatment to be most beneficial. 1st layer black cotton 2nd layer shredded silk straightened 3rd layer polyester allusion, net Quilted through all with 100% cotton thread Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 8. Before & after conservation of shredded silk lining in CW coat back 8 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 9. Top back areas had more complete loss similar to the tailcoat lining. 9 White backing shows degree of loss to lining in this section. Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 10. The shoulder pad quilting governed the treatment process. The wool padded shoulder area was originally quilted for warmth. To stabilize the area, it was covered with silk crepeline to give a smooth surface for mounting yet allow viewing of the original construction process. 10 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 11. Chest area lining before & after crepeline cover 11 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 12. CW Tunic Tailcoat Right Chest Area 12 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 13. Tailcoat The original silk shirting sleeve lining was fairly intact except the arms eye. It is secured by stitching net bands around the circumference and creating small pockets to encase weak areas of silk. 13 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 14. General Lytles Wool Military Tailcoat Interior View of Upper Front Chest 14 Front chest area after conservation of original silk sleeve lining and wool chest padding. The wool and silks original purpose was for warmth and comfort. Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 15. Tailcoat Map Pockets Left photo: during the process when I untacked the repair cover. Right photo: after with the transparent silk crepeline cover. The brown chintz map pockets can be viewed to understand the original function of the interior tailcoat pockets. 15 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 16. Original Map Pockets & Silk Lining that remained in the tails. Before & After 16 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 17. Gold lettering on black label: McKee and Roth 48 West Fourth St. Cincinnati Facing & yellow gold silk cross tacking restored 17 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 18. Visual Review of 1863 General Lytles Civil War Tailcoat Lining Treatment 18 Conservation by Jennifer Hein
  • 19. Before & After Treatment The Exterior has little change except button detailing. The real change is the inside lining which is now intact to mount for a display. The project was funded so you may view it at the Cincinnati Museum Center. 19 Conservation by Jennifer Hein