“Milling Around: Kentucky Flour Bags” features a representative sampling of the nearly two hundred bags held by WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections. The bags with bold and bright iconography document an industry that was once local but is now consolidated into huge conglomerates. At one time almost every hamlet of any consequence boasted one or more water- or steam-powered mills that produced flour and/or corn meal. This exhibit features both paper and cloth bags. After consuming the flour, customers used the bleached cotton bags for towels, cleaning rags, backing for quilts and even clothing. As a marketing ploy, many flour mills eventually sold their flour in printed cotton fabric bags of varied colors and designs. These bags were specifically made to be converted into fabric for clothing, quilting and other household uses. Paper bags began the standard by the mid-1950s. The Werthan Bag Company of Nashville, one of the largest companies of its type in the country, converted from cloth to paper bags exclusively in 1955.
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