The following description was prepared by William Gross:
The custom of the Wimpel or Torah Binder stretches back some 500 years at least in the world of classic Ashkenaz, the German speaking lands. The cloth which held the child at the time of his circumcision, almost always of linen, was cut into strips and sewn into a long textile. On this lengthy cloth was embroidered or painted a formulaic inscription, blessing the child and wishing that he grow up to "the Torah, the Chupah and good deeds". The beginnings of the custom were executed on linen cloth with silk embroidery. In the late 18th century the custom passed to painting on the textile with substantial illustration, although late examples of embroidered Wimpels do exist. Wimpels in the Gross Family Collection have their origin from Germany, Denmark, the Czech lands, Luxembourg and Alsace. The Wimpel served as a Torah Binder, being brought to the synagogue for use on the child's first birthday, his Bar Mitzvah and the Shabbat Chatan before his marriage.
This delightful Torah binder is decorated in the tradition of the area of Alsace. In the last half of the 19th century the tradition here was to decorate with brightly painted letters and images related to the Wimpel. The name of the baby is Shlomo and so the scene of "Mishpat Shlomo", the Judgement of Solomon, is illustrated, using as a source the image of the same scene as done by Matthaeus Merian in a series of biblical etchings. A stork, a traditional symbol in Alsace, is depicted, as is a costumed rabbi with a cup of wine, a young boy fishing, the Torah and a Chupah, the marriage canopy. This binder is unusual as well in that it has a colophon mentioning the name of the town of the child's birth, Muelhausen. There is also a rendition of the scales.
Inscription: Shlomo ben Moshe Blum & Wimpel formula