Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Words




The story of technology is in fact the story of textiles. From the most ancient times to the present, so too is the story of economic development and global trade. The origins of chemistry lie in the colouring and finishing of cloth. The textile business funded the Italian Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; it left us double-entry bookkeeping and letters of credit, Michelangelo’s David and the Taj Mahal. As much as spices or gold, the quest for fabrics and dyestuffs drew sailors across strange seas. In ways both subtle and obvious, textiles made our world."..........from essay written by Virginia Postrel and found here.  , a very interesting read. 

16 comments:

  1. I love this. I was sent a link to a picture of an incredibly quilted skirt. As it turns out, the skirt was purchased at H & M. Broke my heart as I thought about the worker who slaved over that piece for pennies. Not only have textiles funded so much, but the workers who have developed the textiles and worked them into beautiful garments. I so hope the day will come that we will once again appreciate clothing as we should.

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    1. Yes! I never really thought how textiles have driven the history of the world so reading this eloquent essay really touched me. I would like to thank Mrs. Mole for sending me the link.

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  2. The bone needle and the loom are the technology, not the textile. And before prehistoric people learned to weave wild flax, they wore clothing fashioned from skins.

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    1. Agreed. The article says "The story of technology is in fact the story of textiles". I like to think that is true being passionate as I am about anything textile related.

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  3. Thank you so much for the link to this fascinating article. I like this vision of technological progress so much better than the idea that it was driven by the development of weapons.

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  4. Very interesting article which got me thinking about the role of fabric in our lives and history. The U.S. had so many fabric mills but we now have so few since many of the mills are now overseas. What started in the 1970's with mills going overseas was a harbinger of the future of manufacturing in the U.S.

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  5. Very interesting read Bunny. And thank you for sharing...I love articles like this one! I was reminded of "purple cloth", which was a fabric used in trade and as valuable as gold (more so in some countries), referred to in the Christian Bible. It was made purple by a dye extracted from some small shelled sea creature. Which reminds me, I'd like to know more about "purple cloth" and exactly how it was made. Linda S.

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    1. I remember that only the royalty of Rome wore purple and you knew who they were by just that. Everyone else had white togas. Correct me please someone if I am wrong. But, another example of how textiles touch society and therefore history. I found the article very interesting.

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  6. This is a very interesting article. I think so many things in our modern world are taken for granted, textiles being an excellent example. Unless one is interested in the textile/needle arts, not much thought is given to what it takes to produce all the cloth, trim, and embellishments to create clothing. The well-to-do and the leadership have always used adornments and textiles to emphasize their position in society.

    On a side note, I came across a tidbit that the British actually were given the first opportunity to develop the aniline dye industry but they turned it down, thinking it wouldn't amount to much. The Germans quickly seized the chance and the rest is history.

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  7. Doesn't the "Dreamstress" have quite a bit on her blog about textile history?

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  8. And then there is the Jacquard Loom - they were using punch cards to control different designs in the weave. Early computer scientist Babbage saw the value and used punch cards to enter data into computers. How interesting!!!!

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    1. I've actually seen those Jacquard looms with the cards working. Long story short, I was given a tour of what the owner said was the only Jacquard ribbon factory left that used the card system. He and his wife took me all over the factory, explained the cards, etc. It was the "Ribbon Factory" in Barnstead, NH and it had a wonderful little retail outlet and gift store, Unfortunately, about two years after my tour it burned to the ground. There antique looms were made of mostly wood and it all perished to history. The owner explained to me that these cards were the "first computers." I really treasure that experience and thanks, Robin, for shaking the memory tree for me.

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    2. wow that is amazing - I am glad you got to see the Ribbon Factory and absorb it before it was lost the fire. That's sad to lose a part of history.

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  9. Very interesting, Bunny. Thank you for sharing. I just came back from three weeks in Morocco. Near Marrakesh is the ancient city of Essaouira. From the shore one can see Mogador (also known as the Iles Purpuraires -Purple Islands). Ancient Romans used the murex trunculus shells to make the purple dye used for togas, hence the name of the islands.

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