Horsehair Fabrics

The Old Horsehair Weaver

Lovers of antique furniture will be pleased by the revived production of old patterns from the collection in „The Old Horsehair Weaver“ of Emil Rotter oHG, a collection of various traditional weaving designs from the nineteenth century.

Horsehair fabrics are being used and recommended by those who recognize beauty and quality. Top interior desigers use it as a covering for antique, quality reproduction and modern furniture; it’s also been used as a wallcovering. Horsehair fabric is ideally suited for commercial contract seetings. It is an ideal fabric for the heavy demands of continuous use. Handbags, wallets and belts covered with horsehair fabrics transform utility into an attractive accessory.

The special characteristics of horsehair fabric, which combines understated elegance with exclusivity and tradition, are its silky sheen, timeless simplicity, high durability and easy-maintenance. This natural hair fabric is ideal for use as an upholstery fabric for sofas and chairs.

In addition to these historical patterns, new motifs have been designed, creating a wide – ranging collection of over 80 designs.


Horsehair fabrics have been used for the faithful restoration of priceless furniture from Classicism, Biedermeier, Empire, English Chippendale and American Independence eras, in such famous locations as the White House in Washington DC, New York’s Metropolitan Museum, Bellevue Castle (the official seat of German president), Berlin’s Hotel Adlon at the Brandenburg Gate, and castles belonging to the Prussian Cultural Estate. The Old Horsehair Weaver of Emil Rotter oHG is associated with the following projects using horsehair fabric:


Bellevue Palace, Berlin
Italien Embassy, Berlin
Hilton Hotel, Cologne
Wörlitz Palace
The Marble Palace, Potsdam
The New Palace in Sanssouci Park, Potsdam
The Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam


The Swedish Royal Court


Lafayette Warehouse, New York USA
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg USA
Hollingworth Design, Chicago USA
Kuhnert Restoration Inc., San Francisco USA
House of Dandrige, Baltimore USA


It was the middle of the eighteenth century when weaving with horsehair was first started.
At the Prussian Court under Frederick the Great, the master builders favored silk from France. One of Prussia’s first horsehair manufacturers, founded in 1762, was established in Breslau (Breslow) under Prussian State patronage of Joseph Löbel. The aim, at that time, was to make better use of locally produced horsehair to reduce dependency on imported fabrics.

After the French Revolution, the art of weaving flourished in Prussia thanks to Bohemian, Dutch and French immigrants. Weaving mills sprung up all over Prussia, some producing horsehair fabrics. As time went on, these mills started producing fabrics for neighboring countries. At the beginning of the 19th century, in the time of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, domestic horsehair weaving became popular in economy-minded Prussia, not just at Court, but also among the aspiring bourgeoisie.

All the fabrics in „The Old Horsehair Weaver“ collection are held in stock at their Berlin warehouse and are avaible to order in cut lengths. Consideration can be given to special requirements for minimum orders of as little as 15 meters. For other special request please contact your supplier or us directly.

Fabric Specification

Composition / Witdh

The fabric material is woven from a cotton or polyester warp and horse hair weft. As the weft is horse tail hair, the width of the fabric is restricted to a maximum of  70 cm / 28 inches. This can restrict its usage on some pieces of furniture. Joints and piping are possible.
„The Old Horsehair Weaver“ fabrics are 68% Horsehair / 32% Polyester. Please note that all pattern repeats and widths are approximate.

Cleaning / Fabric Care

Please brush and vacuum the fabric as often as possible, as dust and impurities do have an adverse effect on fabric. Spillage should be wiped with an absorbant cloth immediately. First wipe with a slightly damp cloth and then with a dry cloth. Do not leave liquid on the fabric. It is not adviseable to wash the fabric. Dry cleaning is possible by a reputable home furnishing dry cleaner. They should be advised that the fabric contains horsehair and should not be subject to high temperatur. We cannot take responsibility for any discolouration or damage during any cleaning process.

Color Fastness

By the nature of its composition all fabric will fade when exposed to direct sunlight. We do not guarantee our fabric against fading. Many factors affect the colour fastness. The dyes used will give a fastness of grade 4 on the light fastness scale, which is usual for upholstery fabric. The following is recommended to protect your fabric from fading: Horsehair Fabrics must be protected from the both summer and winter sun. Window glass increases the chance of fading, as it magnifies the sun’s rays. Air pollution can also cause fading.

Color Matching

Horsehair cloth is woven with horsetail hair, which is naturally irregular in both colour and dimensions. This adds to its beauty. That’s why we cannot gurantee exact colour matching against pattern book and samples, since variation in shade can occur from one production bath to another. Should an accurante match be required, we can send you a cutting from current stock. Co-ordinating fabrics are subject to colour variations. No guarantee of a exact match can be given. If an exact colour match is desired, please request a cutting from present stock and we can reserve yardage.

Stretch & Shrinkage Movement

As horsehair is naturally absorbant, this can cause shrinkage and stretching. It is most important to have the fabric upholstered correctly. We take no responsibility for wear, stretching, shrinkage or movement if the upholstery is not up standard.

Flame Retardancy 

We are awaiting results of fire tests. We do warn you that certain proofing materials can affect the handle and colour and we regret we can not take any responsibility for this.

Please contact your supplier if you are in any doubt!