I. History Of Linen
II. How Flax Is Grown And Where
III. How Linen Is Made
IV. Linen Weaves
V. How Linen Is Dyed
VI. Wrinkle-resistant Linens
VII. Household Linens
VIII. History Of The Handkerchief
IX. How Handkerchiefs Are Made
X. Types Of Linen Handkerchiefs
XI. Handkerchief Hems
XII. How To Buy Linens
XIII. Selling Points Of Linen
XIV. Care And Preservation Of Linen
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An excerpt from the beginning of the first chapter:
I. History of Linen
Pick up any book or article about linen. The first thing you read will be a statement about its venerable antiquity. You will learn that linen was in widespread use before the dawn of history; that flax fibre cloths have been found in Switzerland which were left there ten thousand years ago by their ancient makers, the Neolithic Lake Dwellers, when civilization was in its infancy.
Linen History Being Written Every Day
Do not get the idea, however, that the story of linen is embalmed in dusty volumes and museums. Linen is still front page news. Its history is being written by factory officials, fabric designers, fashion experts and the great army of men and women who wear and use linen. Every time a mill brings out a new pattern in table damask, a hew weave in dress linen, a new design in printed handkerchiefs, this favored fabric embarks upon a new adventure. Every time a creative dress designer devises a new linen sports ensemble, a footnote is added to linen history.
Not only is linen an important fabric in the fashion field and the preferred textile for every home use but it also plays an important part in modern church ritual. In fact, it is mandatory, now as in the past, that linen be used for certain vestments and religious ceremonies.
Linen the Earliest Fashion Fabric in Western World
Linen was an integral part of the culture and refinement of the ancient world, which produced weaves of incredible fineness and developed the arts of dyeing and printing to a high degree. In the days of the Pharaohs linen was already the fabric of Egypt's aristocracy. The bodies of her deceased emperors, nobles and priests were wrapped in shrouds of finest linen, which modern archaeologists have found in excellent condition after centuries and centuries—such is the amazing resistance of linen to the ravages of time. And even today, linen burial garments are prescribed by certain religious faiths.
The Romans used and manufactured linens. When they expanded northward, they found flax grown by the Gauls. Their enterprise carried the distribution of the fabrics to England for the special benefit of imperial officials stationed there. After the fall of Rome, linen-making suffered along with the other arts and crafts. During the ensuing Dark Ages the record of all textile manufacture was hopelessly lost. There is consequently a long gap in linen history. Happily, however, the production of linen continued and the art of spinning and weaving was passed on to succeeding generations.
Celts Named and Developed Linen
The name LINEN did not come into use until long after the fabric had reached a high stage of development. In fact, the word comes from the Celtic LLIN. Records of the manufacture of llin or linen in Ireland can be traced to the 13th century, but the real foundations of the industry were not laid until four hundred years later. At that time Irish woolen competition was bothering English producers. Accordingly, prohibitive tariffs were placed upon woolens imported from Ireland. To offset this Ireland was given a practical monopoly of linen. Then in 1685 the industry received another galvanic impetus, when exiled Huguenots from France settled in Ireland by the thousands and incorporated their fine textile tradition with that of their adopted country.
From this time on, Ireland has led the world in the production of beautiful linens. The arts and skills of Irish craftsmen, whose lives have been dedicated to the spinning of flax, to the weaving of fine linen fabrics, to the bleaching and finishing of the woven cloth, have been handed down from father to son. As a result it is universally acknowledged that Irish linens have no equal.