By: Sharon Fulton Pinka
Quilt block designer William Pinch is virtually unknown outside the Midwest, yet his Rainbow patterns have been identified in quilts all over America. As the embroidered and appliqued quilts of the 1930s and 1940s emerge from attics and become available through estate sales, quilt collectors and researchers ponder the origin of the distinctive, but unattributed Rainbow designs. The author describes the career of William Bray Pinch and his Rainbow Quilt Block Company of Cleveland, Ohio, and establishes his role in the quilt world. Through analysis of surviving quilts, quilt block designs, advertising ephemera, and photographs, supported by interviews, memorabilia, and correspondence from family members, William Pinch, the self-described “Maker of Pretty Quilt Blocks,” emerges as one of the most influential quilt-block designers of the twentieth century.