The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 25, 2014

How cloth bags shaped America

(Continued)

At that time there were more than 400 feed sack companies, he said, that would make bags for feed companies with whatever they wanted on them. Even Walt Disney used feed sacks to market his movies, and Zahs said the Mickey Mouse print sack in his collection is now worth more than $100.

Nowadays collectors like Zahs who have interest in cloth bags look for anything made out of the bags, but most of what he brought to the Reminisce Society were beautiful handmade quilts. One of them, he said, was made out of 11,700 pieces of bags.

When he asked the crowd how many had ever worn, slept in or used something that at one time had been a feed sack, almost every person in attendance raised a hand. It’s easy to see that Zahs is correct in thinking that cloth bags had a hand in helping to shape America as we know it.

The next meeting of the Reminisce Society will be at 10 a.m. April 22 in the Ottumwa Library’s meeting room. Michael Lemberger will be presenting about the history of Ottumwa’s riverfront.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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