Lacework of the 15th Century Is Simulated
Belgian and French Designs Engraved on Paper Doilies
Article published in The New York Times, MONDAY, MAY 6, 1963.
Reproductions of priceless 15th century France and Belgium, many of them museum pieces, are appearing on 20th century dining room tables these days. They are in the form of white, gold and silver paper doilies, made through engraving skills rare in this country.
The handiwork of lace-makers of a bygone era is being reproduced in simulated lace for the Royal Lace Paper division of Standard Packaging Corporation by Fred Dittman, former Berlin engraver. Mr. Dittman has been fashioning intricate cylindrical steel dies for paper dies for Standard Packaging since 1930.
Engraving, one of the world’s oldest professions, is also a rapidly disappearing art. Only a handful of the craftsmen remain, in this country. Their work is demanding, time-consuming and painstaking.
It takes Fred Dittman from one to five months to complete a single die for turning out doilies, depending on the intricacy of the lace design. Lace is a delicate open-work fabric or network of threads of linen, silk or cotton. To simulate the patterns on paper, a die must be carved both to perforate and to give a plaited-thread texture such as enriches real lace.
Chemical processes are used to produce engravings for many purposes, but to make dies that will reproduce on paper historical lace designs from Europe requires skills cutting and embossing by hand.
Mr. Dittman makes and owns as his own tools. The dies he has shaped in the past 30 years, valued at more than $1,000,000 are stacked by the score at Royal Lace’s plant in Fort Wayne, In.
Each die produces literally millions of doilies. The paper lace doilies known as “Roylies,” are turned out in square, round, clover, heart and rectangular shapes and in a wide variety of sizes.
They are part of the Standard packaging line of throwaway paper products, which includes napkins, placemats, plastic-coated plates, cups, bowls and tissues. The company’s 28 divisions also make paper, plastic and foil packaging for the food processing industry.
This article was published in The New York Times on MONDAY, MAY 6, 1963.
After so many years, the Royal Lace® paper doilies are still being manufactured by the Royal Lace division using the dies crafted at the beginning of the 20th century by engravers like Fred Dittman. Our Royal Lace® doilies are and remain among the most beautiful lace doilies in the world. They have become a historic testimony of the old times’ beauty and refinement. Call them “antique doilies” or “Royal doilies”. Today, Royal Lace® and Royal Brites® are brands of Royal Consumer Products, llc, a consumer paper products company owned by Mafcote, Inc.
Mafcote Inc. now, a 3rd generation of business owners, continues the tradition of the over 100 year old business, giving the US market the best and the most innovative paper products. Besides the beautiful Royal Lace® paper doilies, the Royal Brites® poster board, a market leader, comes in plain and fluorescent or neon colors. The new TwoCool Colors™ poster board concept, two different colors in one poster board sheet is one of the many Mafcote patented concepts. Royal Brites® has launched a new Display Board and Display Accessories line. A broad line of ink jet and photo paper consisting of recreational, business and photo paper for home, school and office is also available under the Royal Brites® brand name.
All Royal Lace® and Royal Brites® paper products are available at TheRoyalStore.com
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