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Currency blankets from Hiller Dry Goods

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 03, 2018

Hiller Currency

Hiller Currency

Nick Hiller has rebooted his great-great-grandfather’s textiles & dry goods store (established in Detroit in 1904) as an online shop. The first collection is called the Currency Blankets Collection, and features lovely blankets inspired by patterns on banknotes from around the world.

For thousands of years, textiles were so basic to survival that they functioned as a form of currency. In Mesoamerica, the Zapotecs paid tribute in woven rugs to the ruling Aztecs; in North America, the Navajos transacted in Pendleton blankets with European settlers; in West Africa, the Wolof in Gambia used “cloth money” in standardized strips that could be torn to make change; in medieval Iceland, a woolen fabric called wadmal (Old Norse for “legal cloth”) was the official currency for over 600 years. Even the Silk Road, civilization’s first global trade network, was named after the route’s dominant form of currency.

The blankets in the collection are manufactured in the US and reflect banknotes from France, the US (the pattern is a super zoom of Ben Franklin’s cheek on the $100 bill), Romania, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Argentina, and several others.