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Textiles (W) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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WEAVING: Weaving is the art of making cloth on a loom (q.v.). There are three fundamental weaves-plain, twill and satin. Others, such as taffeta, damasks, brocades and velvets are merely variations or complications of these three. For many centuries weaving was carried on as a household industry with little or no change in the style of the loom or in the methods employed, and though the loom was remarkably simple, even crude, the operators produced fabrics that have never been excelled in fineness of texture, even at this later day. The materials in early use in this country for weaving were wool, flax and hemp. Cotton came later. The periods just before and following the Revolutionary War are considered the high spots in American home-weaving. It was not until the latter half of the 19th century that all of the processes connected with weaving were grouped together in one establishment, the mill.


WOOL: Next to cotton, wool is the most extensively used of all fibers. A pound of the finest wool will yield nearly 100 miles of thread. Although the typical wool is produced by sheep, goat's hair furnishes a long, fine silky material, much used in making beautiful textile fabrics. The angora goat yields mohair, the alpaca goat a fiber known as alpaca, and the wool made from the cashmere (kashmir) goat of India is said to be the most costly of all wools. The fine soft hair of the camel approximates sheep's wool in its structure. The wool grown in this country was much improved in quality early in the 19th century by importation of large numbers of merino sheep from Spain, where cross-breeding had been carried on scientifically for generations.

WOOL-CARD: A leather pad backed with wood and set with bent wire teeth.