Germantown, Pennsylvania was founded in 1683, and from its very beginning was a center of textile production, but it wasn’t until the Civil War that it became known for industrial wool mills. As textile mills proliferated, “Germantown” became synonymous with worsted weight 4 ply wool, and this high quality yarn began to be shipped around the country. Although the Diné first began using machine milled yarn during their imprisonment at Bosque Redondo, it was the arrival of the railroad to the reservation in the 1880’s that spurred an explosion of Navajo Germantown weavings in the 1880-1890’s, and the vast majority of extant weavings date from this period.
One of the most lauded type of Navajo weavings, Germantown eye-dazzlers are characterized by intricate and colorful designs, often incorporating serrated diamonds as decorative elements. Having access to store bought wool meant that weavers didn’t have to prepare the wool, and were able to dedicate more energy to detailed and time intensive designs.