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Wool, Linen, Silk, Cotton

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by

Sarah Murphy

on 27 September 2016

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Transcript of Wool, Linen, Silk, Cotton

The woman from Huldremose: Iron Age Bog Mummy, 2nd Century BC


Wool: Wool is different from hair. It's kind of magical

It's
crimped
, elastic, and grows in staples (clusters)
Wool's
scaling
and crimp make it possible for the individual fibers attach to each other.
Wool fabrics hold air, which causes the fabric to retain heat. Insulation works both ways, keeping heat out in desert climates.


Wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture without feeling uncomfortable

Wool is naturally fire resistant.

Can you see why it has been so popular for 20,000+ years?
Where are the largest concentrations of sheep?
What can we interpret from these observations?
Natural Fibers
Wool
Linen
Cotton
Silk
Silk fabric was first developed in ancient China. The earliest example of silk fabric is from
3630 BC
, and it was used as wrapping for the body of a child from a Yangshao site in Qingtaicun at Xingyang, Henan.
Linen is allergy-free, absorbs humidity and allows the skin to breathe, antistatic
antibacterial
Linen can be washed many times without alteration.
able to absorb up to 20 times its weight in moisture before it feels damp.
Flax was first cultivated 30,000 years ago
(From an archaeological find in the country of Georgia - http://www.sciencemag.org/content/325/5946/1359.short)
Ancient Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen
Date: ca. 1780
Culture: French
Medium: linen
Dimensions: Length at CB: 35 in. (88.9 cm)
Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the D. A. R. Fort Greene Chapter, Brooklyn, 1924
Accession Number: 2009.300.62

Date: 5th–7th century
Geography: Egypt, Akhmim (former Panopolis)
Culture: Coptic
Medium: Linen, wool
Dimensions: Textile: H. 53 1/8 in. (135 cm) Mount: H. 67 1/8 in. (170.5 cm) W. 56 in. (142.2 cm) D. 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm)
Classification: Textiles
Credit Line: Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1926
Accession Number: 26.9.7
Linen Tunic, 500-600 AD
Why has linen been so popular for so long?

Why is linen not as popular as cotton is today?
In the 1700s, not much cotton was produced in England.

Not only was it expensive to produce, laws made to protect England's wool industry kept production low.

Two inventions drastically reduced the production costs of cotton:
The Cotton Gin
(patented 1793), The
Spinning Jenny
(patented 1770).
The Spinning Jenny
Invented 1764, in major industrial use by 1830

Mechanized cotton yarn production, drastically lowering the cost. Again.
What could the effects of the end of slavery in 1865 after the American Civil War have been on the cotton industry?
Absorbent: comfortable to wear in warm weather and while active.

Low conductivity: keeps warm air close to the skin during cold weather.
China was able to keep a near monopoly on silk production for a very long time. The monopoly was defended by an imperial decree, condemning to death anyone attempting to export silkworms or their eggs.

Around the year 300 AD, a Japanese expedition succeed in stealing some silkworm eggs and four young Chinese girls, who were forced to teach their captors the art of
sericulture
.

How do you think
sericulture
, the art of making silk, spread to the rest of the world?
Maximum speed: 5 knots
(1 nautical mile per hour)
1 nautical mile = 1.15 miles)
Distance to travel: 5073 miles
Suez Canal
120 miles long through desert
Built in the 1860s
This Cog wouldn't hit the Mediterranean until 1300
And this cutting edge piece of technology is still
over 200 years away!
Why was silk so expensive?
How do you think European fashion changed between 1270 and 1500?
The woman from Huldremose: Iron Age Bog Mummy, 2nd Century BC


Wool: Wool is different from hair. It's kind of magical

It's
crimped
, elastic, and grows in staples (clusters)
Wool's
scaling
and crimp make it possible for the individual fibers attach to each other.
Wool fabrics hold air, which causes the fabric to retain heat. Insulation works both ways, keeping heat out in desert climates.


Wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture without feeling uncomfortable

Wool is naturally fire resistant.

Can you see why it has been so popular for 20,000+ years?
Where are the largest concentrations of sheep?
What can we interpret from these observations?
Synthetic Fibers
Polyester
Nylon
Rayon
Spandex
Silk fabric was first developed in ancient China. The earliest example of silk fabric is from
3630 BC
, and it was used as wrapping for the body of a child from a Yangshao site in Qingtaicun at Xingyang, Henan.
Linen is allergy-free, absorbs humidity and allows the skin to breathe, antistatic
antibacterial
Linen can be washed many times without alteration.
able to absorb up to 20 times its weight in moisture before it feels damp.
Flax was first cultivated 30,000 years ago
(From an archaeological find in the country of Georgia - http://www.sciencemag.org/content/325/5946/1359.short)
Ancient Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen
Date: ca. 1780
Culture: French
Medium: linen
Dimensions: Length at CB: 35 in. (88.9 cm)
Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the D. A. R. Fort Greene Chapter, Brooklyn, 1924
Accession Number: 2009.300.62

Date: 5th–7th century
Geography: Egypt, Akhmim (former Panopolis)
Culture: Coptic
Medium: Linen, wool
Dimensions: Textile: H. 53 1/8 in. (135 cm) Mount: H. 67 1/8 in. (170.5 cm) W. 56 in. (142.2 cm) D. 4 5/8 in. (11.7 cm)
Classification: Textiles
Credit Line: Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1926
Accession Number: 26.9.7
Linen Tunic, 500-600 AD
Why has linen been so popular for so long?

Why is linen not as popular as cotton is today?
In the 1700s, not much cotton was produced in England.

Not only was it expensive to produce, laws made to protect England's wool industry kept production low.

Two inventions drastically reduced the production costs of cotton:
The Cotton Gin
(patented 1793), The
Spinning Jenny
(patented 1770).
The Spinning Jenny
Invented 1764, in major industrial use by 1830

Mechanized cotton yarn production, drastically lowering the cost. Again.
What could the effects of the end of slavery in 1865 after the American Civil War have been on the cotton industry?
Absorbent: comfortable to wear in warm weather and while active.

Low conductivity: keeps warm air close to the skin during cold weather.
China was able to keep a near monopoly on silk production for a very long time. The monopoly was defended by an imperial decree, condemning to death anyone attempting to export silkworms or their eggs.

Around the year 300 AD, a Japanese expedition succeed in stealing some silkworm eggs and four young Chinese girls, who were forced to teach their captors the art of
sericulture
.

How do you think
sericulture
, the art of making silk, spread to the rest of the world?
Maximum speed: 5 knots
(1 nautical mile per hour)
1 nautical mile = 1.15 miles)
Distance to travel: 5073 miles
Suez Canal
120 miles long through desert
Built in the 1860s
This Cog wouldn't hit the Mediterranean until 1300
And this cutting edge piece of technology is still
over 200 years away!
Why was silk so expensive?
How do you think European fashion changed between 1270 and 1500?
Full transcript