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Catechism of Familiar Things; Their History, and the Events Which Led to Their Discovery, A

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<SPAN name="CHAPTER_III" id="CHAPTER_III"></SPAN>CHAPTER III.</h2> <h3><span class="smcap">Calico, Cotton, Cloth, Wool, Baize, Linen, Flax, Hemp, Diaper, Holland, Canvas, and Flannel.</span></h3> <p><b>What is Calico?</b></p> <p>A kind of printed cotton cloth, of different colors.</p> <p><b>From what place did it take its name?</b></p> <p>From Calicut, a city on the coast of Malabar, where it was first made; much is now manufactured in the United States, England, and many other countries.</p> <p><b>What is Cotton?</b></p> <p>A downy or woolly substance, enclosed in the pod, or seed-vessel, of the cotton-plant. The commercial classification of cotton is determined&mdash;1, by cleanliness or freedom from sand, dry leaf, and other impurities; 2, by absence of color; both subject also to character of staple, length, and strength and fineness of fibre. These together determine relative value. There are two general classifications, long-stapled and short-stapled. Of the former the best is the sea island cotton of the United States. The <i>short staple cotton</i>, grows in the middle and upper country; the long staple is cultivated in the lower country near the sea, and on the islands near the coasts.</p> <p><b>How is it cultivated?</b></p> <p>The seeds are sown in ridges made with the plough or hoe; when the plants are mature, the pods open, and the cotton is picked from them.</p> <p><b>Where did Cotton anciently grow, and for what was it used?</b></p> <p>In Egypt, where it was used by the priests and sacrificers, for a very singular kind of garment worn by them alone.</p> <p><b>In what manufacture is it now used?</b></p> <p>It is woven into muslins, dimities, cloths, calicoes, &amp;c.; and <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_29" id="Page_29"></SPAN>[29]</span>is also joined with silks and flax, in the composition of other stuffs, and in working with the needle.</p> <p><b>How is the Cotton separated from the seed?</b></p> <p>By machines called <i>cotton gins</i>, of which there are two kinds; the <i>roller-gin</i>, and the <i>saw-gin</i>. In the former, the cotton, just as gathered from the plant, is drawn between two rollers, placed so closely together as to permit the passage of the cotton, but not of the seeds, which are consequently left behind. In the <i>saw-gin</i>, the cotton is placed in a receiver, one side of which consists of a grating of parallel wires, about an eighth of an inch apart; circular saws, revolving on a common axis between these wires, entangle in their teeth the cotton, and draw it from the seeds, which are too large to pass between the wires.</p> <p><b>How is it made into Calico, &amp;c.?</b></p> <p>The cotton having been separated from the seed, is spun by a machine for the purpose. It is next woven, then dressed, and printed.</p> <p><b>What is Cloth?</b></p> <p>The word, in its general sense, includes all kinds of stuffs woven in the loom, whether the threads be of wool, cotton, hemp, or flax.</p> <p><b>To what is it more particularly applied?</b></p> <p>To a web or tissue of woollen threads.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Web</i>, any thing woven.</p></div> <p><b>What is Wool?</b></p> <p>The covering or hair of sheep. To prepare it for the weaver, it is first shorn, washed, and dried, then carded or combed by machinery into fibres or threads: formerly this was always performed by the hand, by means of an instrument, called a comb, with several rows of pointed teeth; this, though not much used now, is still occasionally employed, except in large factories. This combing is repeated two or three times, till it is sufficiently smooth and even for spinning. Spinning or converting wool, <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_30" id="Page_30"></SPAN>[30]</span>or cotton, silk, &amp;c. into thread, was anciently performed by the distaff and spindle: these we find mentioned in sacred history, and they have been used in all ages, and in all countries yet discovered. The natives of India, and of some other parts of the world, still employ this simple invention.</p> <p><b>What was the next improvement?</b></p> <p>The invention of the hand-wheel. In 1767, a machine called the spinning-jenny was invented by a weaver named Hargreaves; but the greatest improvement in the art of spinning was effected by Mr. Arkwright, in 1768: these two inventions were combined, and again improved upon in 1776; so that by the new plan, the material can be converted into thread in a considerably shorter space of time than in the ancient mode; leaving to man merely to feed the machine, and join the threads when they break. The sheep, whose wool forms the material for nearly all woollen clothing, came originally from Africa.</p> <p><b>Does weaving differ according to the material used?</b></p> <p>The principle of weaving is the same in every kind of fabric, and consists in forming any kind of thread into a flat web, or cloth, by interlacing one thread with another; the various appearances of the manufacture arise as much from the modes in which the threads are interwoven, as from the difference of material.</p> <p><b>Is not the employment of Wool in the manufacture of Clothing of great antiquity?</b></p> <p>In the earliest records we possess of the arts of mankind, wool is mentioned as forming a chief article in the manufacture of clothing; it is spoken of in the Bible, as a common material for cloth, as early as the time of Moses. The ancient Greeks and Romans are well known to have possessed this art. At the beginning of the thirteenth century, the manufacture was established in many parts of Europe, particularly in Spain, from which country it extended itself to France and Italy. There is no doubt that it was introduced into England by its conquer<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_31" id="Page_31"></SPAN>[31]</span>ors the Romans, a manufactory being established at Winchester, sufficiently large to supply the Roman army.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Manufactory</i>, a place where things are made or manufactured; derived from the Latin <i>manus</i>, a hand, and the verb <i>facio</i>, to do or make.</p></div> <p><b>What circumstance contributed to the progress of this manufacture among the English?</b></p> <p>In 1330, the English, being desirous of improving their woollen manufacture, invited over the Flemings, by the offer of various privileges, to establish manufactories there. The skill of these people soon effected a great improvement in the English fabrics, so that there no longer remained any occasion for the exportation of English wool into Flanders, to be manufactured into fine cloth; and a law was passed by the government to forbid it. Both the cotton and woollen manufactures have, of late years, arisen to great importance in the United States.</p> <p><b>What country affords the best Wool?</b></p> <p>The wool of Germany is most esteemed at the present day: that of Spain was formerly the most valuable, but the Spanish breed of sheep, having been introduced into Germany, succeeded better there than in Spain, and increased so rapidly, that the Spanish wool trade has greatly diminished. Australia is one of the principal wool-growing countries in the world, for the breed of sheep sent out to that country and Tasmania has succeeded remarkably well.</p> <p><b>What part of the world is meant by Australia?</b></p> <p>A British Island in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising the Colonies of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. It is the principal of the group of large islands, in the Oriental Archipelago. Tasmania is another of the same group, separated from New South Wales by a channel called Bass's Strait, and also belongs to Great Britain.</p> <p><b>What is meant by an Archipelago?</b></p> <p>A part of a sea studded with numerous islands; but the term <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_32" id="Page_32"></SPAN>[32]</span>is more particularly applied to that lying between Europe and Asia, which contains the Greek Islands. The word is a corruption from the Greek, signifying the &AElig;gean Sea.</p> <p><b>Is the Wool of the sheep all of one quality?</b></p> <p>No; it varies according to the species of sheep, the soil on which they are fed, and the part of the animal from which it is taken: the chief distinction is between the long and the short wool; the long wool is employed in the manufacture of carpets, crapes, blankets, &amp;c.; and the finer and shorter sorts for hosiery, broadcloths &amp;c.</p> <p><b>Where were Carpets originally made?</b></p> <p>Carpets are of oriental origin, and are made of different sorts of stuffs; they are woven in a variety of ways. Persian and Turkey carpets are most esteemed; they are woven in a piece, in looms of a very simple construction. Formerly the manufacture of these carpets was confined to Persia and Turkey; but they are now successfully made, both in Europe and the United States, &amp;c. Great Britain is the principal seat of the carpet manufacture of the world. Brussels, Wilton, and Kidderminster carpets derive their names from the places where they were invented.</p> <p><b>Is not the art of weaving very ancient?</b></p> <p>It appears to have been known from a period as early as the time of Abraham and Jacob; its inventor is not known, but it is possible that men took a lesson from the ingenious spider, which weaves its web after the same manner. The ancient Egyptians appear to have brought it to great perfection, and were even acquainted with the art of interweaving colors after the manner of the Scottish plaid.</p> <p><b>What is Baize?</b></p> <p>A coarse, open, woollen stuff, with a long nap. It is chiefly made in the United States, England, France, &amp;c.</p> <p><b>What is Linen?</b></p> <p>There are various kinds of linen, made from cotton, flax, and hemp; but the term is chiefly applied to that woven with the <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_33" id="Page_33"></SPAN>[33]</span>two last mentioned. Linen means cloth of flax; hence its derivation from the Latin word <i>linum</i>, flax.</p> <p><b>What is Flax?</b></p> <p>An annual plant, the fibres of which are beaten into threads, spun, and afterwards woven into linen; it is extensively cultivated in the United States, Russia, and some other countries of Europe. Hemp is a plant of a similar nature, equally used with flax, in the manufacture of linens. Russian hemp is cultivated to a larger extent than that of any other country, and is considered the best that is grown.</p> <p><b>How long has the use of Hemp and Flax been known?</b></p> <p>Those plants are said to be natives of Persia, and introduced from some parts of the East into Europe, over which it is now widely distributed: it existed both in a wild and cultivated state, in some parts of Russia, as early as five centuries before Christ These products form a considerable article of exportation, besides the quantity used in Russia itself; a considerable part is wrought into linens, diapers, canvas, and other manufactures; and even the seeds are exported, both in their natural state and as oil. In various parts of Russia, hemp-seed oil and flax-seed (or linseed) oil are prepared in very large quantities.</p> <p><b>What is Diaper?</b></p> <p>A sort of linen cloth, woven in flowers, and other figures; it is said to have received its name from d'Iper, now Ypres, a town of Belgium, situated on a river of the same name, where it was first made.</p> <p><b>What is Holland?</b></p> <p>A fine, close, even, linen cloth, used for sheets, &amp;c. It obtained its name from being principally made in Holland.</p> <p><b>What is Canvas?</b></p> <p>A hempen cloth, so loosely woven as to leave interstices between the threads, in little squares. It is used for working in patterns upon it with wools, &amp;c.; by painters for a ground work on which they draw their pictures; for tents, sails, and <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_34" id="Page_34"></SPAN>[34]</span>many other purposes. There are several sorts, varying in the fineness of their texture.</p> <p><b>What is Damask?</b></p> <p>A sort of silken stuff, having some parts raised on its surface to represent flowers or figures. It took its name from Damascus, in Syria, whence it was first brought.</p> <p><b>Is there not another sort of Damask?</b></p> <p>Yes, made from linen; and so called because its large flowers resemble those of damask roses. It was first made in Flanders, and is used for table linen, &amp;c.</p> <p><b>What is Flannel?</b></p> <p>A slight, loose, woollen stuff, used for warm clothing; it was originally made in Wales, where it still continues to be manufactured in great perfection.</p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>
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