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Monday, July 8, 2013

The Mercury Textiles Definitions Continued

I cannot get enough of this book. Knowledge is power, not to be abused, but certainly to be used in the right application. Not that I would ever want you to hold it over anyone at a dinner party, but it couldn't hurt to know a few of these definitions in case you feel the need to put someone in their place from time to time. Keep in mind though that this book is very out of date and more than likely there are many variations to every description offered as the world of textiles has evolved substantially.

Without further ado:

Damask (Linen)

A fabric of single structure formed by two satin weaves with figure developed in warp and ground in weft satin weaves resulting in a design that shows very clearly as a warp figure on a weft ground. The figure can be made more prominent by using coloured yarn. For table damasks a cotton warp with linen weft is often used. Damasks are made in numerous qualities, but all are figured in the five-or-eight-shaft satin weaves.
As early as the reign of Henry VIII a damask was a rich figured satin or linen and a damask was known in England as early at the 13th Century. The name is derived from Damascus and is presumed to refer to the design and not the material.
The first linen damask is woven about 126 ends and 188 picks per inch from superior flax yarns. The finished sizes vary up to 90-in wide, 6 yards long, and as a rule damask napkins and table tops can be obtained to match. Standard cloths of single damask are made: - Five-end satin, 60-ends and 56 picks per inch, 50'sT, 35's lea W., boiled; 8-end satin, 80 ends and 76 picks per inch, 50's T., 60's lea W., boiled (see Double Damask).


A term used to denote the count or size of silk and rayon threads. Denies is the namer formerly given to a small French coin. Its weight was quoted differently in different Continental towns and countries, and the number of metres in a unit length also varied. These differences hastened the general world-wide adoption of the International Denier System, based on data laid down at a Conference in Paris in 1900, which stated that the denier count is the weight in half-decigrammes of 450 metres of yarn. In practice the init length is taken as 450 x 20 = 9000 metres of yarn. Taking the equivalents of the metre as 1.0936143 yars, and the gramme as 15,432,356.4 grains, one pound weight of the denier yarn would contain 4,464,496.5 yars. From this figure the correct conversion factor for cotton is 5314.87, conveniently 5315, thus:.... (I have left of the equation because I cannot type it)


A course twill cloth, 3 x 1 weave, woven from coloured warp yarns, usually blue or brown, and made into overalls for workmen. Widths from 27in to 36-in, 58 ends and 58picks per inch, 20's T., 22's white weft. A fine quality is made from 90 ends and 52 picks per inch, 20's T, 14's W., and shipped to many South American markets.


The gaberdine is a fabric having a whipcord effect made from worsted warps and cotton weft. It is usually woven on 11 staves as at A, in a dobby loom with a fine reed. The warp yarns are good quality worsted botany and well spun to give uniformity of surface in the finished cloth. The weft is two fold good quality cotton. Gaberdines are usually set with about twice as many ends as picks per inch.


An all cotton, plain weave fabric woven from dyed yarns in stripes and checks. An example:

USA: Width: 31-in, Ends per inch 68 /56, Warp 40's, Weft 40's

The widths, qualities and designs are numerous, as nearly all plain checks or stripes can be placed under this heading. The colours are fast to washing and the cloth is Scotch finished. In each case the coloured yarn is the same counts as the white. The name is derived from the Gingamp (France) where the cloth was first made in Europe, being introduced from India.


A fabric of the poplin type, but with a more pronounced rib produced by using coarse cotton weft. Made about 40-in, 200 ends and 52 picks per inch, 75 denier silk warp, 12's cotton weft, and in many other qualities. Gros de Hondres, Gros de Paris, and Gros de Lyon are varieties of this rib fabric. Derived from gros (coarse of large) and grain (kernel).

Horse Hair 

The long lustrous hair from the tails and manes of horses. Cleaning, dressing and curling operations are carried on at many points, but the production of horse-hair textiles is confined virtually to the West of England. The hair is woven to make carriage and furniture seatings, interlinings, flesh rubbers, rugs and carpets. In Bradford some success has attended attempts to use horse hair as a core for worsted yarn interlinings. In Worcester an old-established firm has succeeded of horse hair, which is then used as a weft, in combination with a cotton or worsted warp. Horse-hair lining cloths are manufactured in Philadelphia (USA), the material is also worked in Germany, notably Leipzig.

Horse hair is sorted over suction screens, and is dyed black with logwood. The hair is curled by being twisted into rope, soaked two hours in water, and then baked for twelve hours at 350 deg F. the hair is left for three days to cool. Long white uncurled hairs are used for violin bows and shorter hairs of the same colour for brushes and plumes. Finishing lines are made from the brown hair, and selected lustreless hair is used for lawyers' wigs. The United Kingdom, North and South America, Australia, Germany, Russia and China are the chief sources of supply.

Honeycomb Weave

This is weave obtained by causing both warp end and picks of weft to float in a diamond shape to form ridges along the the lines of the longest floats.
A course of plain weave all around the floating warp and weft diamond shapes induces the formation of hollows. The weave is largely used in Bolton fabrics for quilts, toilet covers, etc and in Heywood for towels. The Brighton and Grecian weaves are adaptations of the honeycomb principal.
Honeycome weaves may be arranged as in design W., where the weft diamond is larger than the warp diamond, or as in design E., where the weft diamond is the same size and the warp diamond.

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