LINEN /ˈlɪnᵻn/ is a textile made from the fibers of the flax
Many products are made of linen: aprons, bags, towels (swimming, bath, beach, body and wash towels), napkins, bed linens, tablecloths, runners, chair covers, and men's and women's wear.
The word linen is of West Germanic origin and cognate to the Latin name for the flax plant, linum, and the earlier Greek λινόν (linón). This word history has given rise to a number of other terms in English, most notably line , from the use of a linen (flax) thread to determine a straight line.
Textiles in a linen weave texture, even when made of cotton , hemp
and other non-flax fibers, are also loosely referred to as "linen".
Such fabrics generally also have their own specific names, for example
fine cotton yarn in a linen-style weave is called
The collective term "linens " is still often used generically to describe a class of woven or knitted bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles traditionally made of linen. In the past, "linens" also referred to lightweight undergarments such as shirts , chemises , waist-shirts, lingerie (a word also cognate with linen), and detachable shirt collars and cuffs, all of which were historically made almost exclusively out of linen. The inner layer of fine composite cloth garments (as for example jackets) was traditionally made of linen, hence the word lining.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Antiquity * 2.2 Earliest linen industry * 2.3 Religion
* 3.1 Description * 3.2 Properties * 3.3 Measure * 3.4 Production method * 3.5 Producers * 3.6 Uses
* 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links
The word "linen" is derived from the
* Line , derived from the use of a linen thread to determine a
* Lining , because linen was often used to create an inner layer for
wool and leather clothing
A bag of white linen, unopened. Contains rolls of linen only. Foundation deposit, Heb Sed Chapel at Lahun, Fayum, Egypt. 12th Dynasty. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London.
The discovery of dyed flax fibers in a cave in Georgia dated to thirty-six thousand years ago suggests that ancient people used wild flax fibers to create linen-like fabrics from an early date.
Mesopotamia , flax was domesticated and linen was first
produced. It was used mainly by the wealthier class of the society,
including priests. The Sumerian poem of the courtship of
Dumuzi (Tammuz ), translated by
Samuel Noah Kramer
In ancient Egypt, linen was used for mummification and for burial
shrouds. It was also worn as clothing on a daily basis; white linen
was worn because of the extreme heat. The use of linen for priestly
vestments was not confined to the Israelites;
Plutarch wrote that the
There is a long history of the production of linen in Ireland. The
Living Linen Project was set up in 1995 as an oral archive of the
knowledge of the
Irish linen industry, which was at that time still
available within a nucleus of people who formerly worked in the
In December 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 2009 to be the International Year of Natural Fibres in order to raise people's awareness of linen and other natural fibers .
When the tomb of the Pharaoh
EARLIEST LINEN INDUSTRY
The earliest records of an established linen industry are 4,000 years
old, from Egypt. The earliest written documentation of a linen
industry comes from the
The Phoenicians , who, with their merchant fleet, opened up new
channels of commerce to the peoples of the Mediterranean, and
developed the tin mines of
Edict of Nantes
Although the linen industry was already established in Ulster, Louis
Crommelin found scope for improvement in weaving, and his efforts were
so successful that he was appointed by the Government to develop the
industry over a much wider range than the small confines of Lisburn
and its surroundings. The direct result of his good work was the
establishment, under statute, of the Board of Trustees of the Linen
Judaism , the only law concerning which fabrics may be interwoven
together in clothing concerns the mixture of linen and wool , called
shaatnez ; it is restricted in Deuteronomy 22:11 "Thou shalt not wear
a mingled stuff, wool and linen together" and Leviticus 19:19,
"'...neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of
stuff mingled together.'" There is no explanation for this in the
Torah itself and is categorized as a type of law known as chukim, a
statute beyond man's ability to comprehend. Josephus suggested that
the reason for the prohibition was to keep the laity from wearing the
official garb of the priests, while Maimonides thought that the
reason was because heathen priests wore such mixed garments. Others
explain that it is because God often forbids mixtures of disparate
kinds, not designed by God to be compatible in a certain way, with
mixing animal and vegetable fibers being similar to having two
different types of plowing animals yoked together. And that such
commands serve both a practical as well as allegorical purpose,
perhaps here preventing a priestly garment that would cause discomfort
(or excessive sweat) in a hot climate.
The cross-section of the linen fiber is made up of irregular polygonal shapes which contribute to the coarse texture of the fabric.
Mildew, perspiration, and bleach can also damage the fabric, but it
is resistant to moths and carpet beetles .
A characteristic often associated with linen yarn is the presence of "slubs", or small knots which occur randomly along its length. In the past, slubs were traditionally considered to be defects, and were associated with low quality linen. However, in the case of many present-day linen fabrics, particularly in the decorative furnishing industry, slubs are considered as part of the aesthetic appeal of an expensive natural product. In addition, slubs do not compromise the integrity of the fabric, and therefore they are not viewed as a defect. However, the very finest linen has very consistent diameter threads, with no slubs at all.
The standard measure of bulk linen yarn is the "lea", which is the
number of yards in a pound of linen divided by 300. For example, a
yarn having a size of 1 lea will give 300 yards per pound. The fine
yarns used in handkerchiefs, etc. might be 40 lea, and give 40x300 =
12,000 yards per pound. This is a specific length therefore an
indirect measurement of the fineness of the linen, i.e., the number of
length units per unit mass. The symbol is NeL.(3) The metric unit, Nm,
is more commonly used in continental Europe. This is the number of
1,000 m lengths per kilogram. In China, the English
See also: hand processing flax Details of the flax plant, from
which linen fibers are derived Mechanical baling of flax in
The quality of the finished linen product is often dependent upon growing conditions and harvesting techniques. To generate the longest possible fibers, flax is either hand-harvested by pulling up the entire plant or stalks are cut very close to the root. After harvesting, the plants are dried, and the seeds are removed through a mechanized process called “rippling” (threshing ) and winnowing .
The fibers must then be loosened from the stalk. This is achieved through retting . This is a process which uses bacteria to decompose the pectin that binds the fibers together. Natural retting methods take place in tanks and pools, or directly in the fields. There are also chemical retting methods; these are faster, but are typically more harmful to the environment and to the fibers themselves.
After retting, the stalks are ready for scutching , which takes place
between August and December.
After the fibers have been separated and processed, they are typically spun into yarns and woven or knit into linen textiles. These textiles can then be bleached, dyed, printed on, or finished with a number of treatments or coatings.
An alternate production method is known as “cottonizing” which is quicker and requires less equipment. The flax stalks are processed using traditional cotton machinery; however, the finished fibers often lose the characteristic linen look.
Over the past 30 years the end use for linen has changed dramatically. Approximately 70% of linen production in the 1990s was for apparel textiles, whereas in the 1970s only about 5% was used for fashion fabrics.
A linen handkerchief , pressed and folded to display the corners, was a standard decoration of a well-dressed man's suit during most of the first part of the 20th century.
Currently researchers are working on a cotton/flax blend to create new yarns which will improve the feel of denim during hot and humid weather.
In the past, linen was also used for books (the only surviving
example of which is the
* ^ lining. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas
Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lining
(accessed: October 3, 2014).
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* ^ A B Kvavadze, E; Bar-Yosef, O; Belfer-Cohen, A; Boaretto, E;
Jakeli, N; Matskevich, Z; Meshveliani, T (2009). "30,000-Year-Old Wild
* ^ Walter Grasser / Albert Pick (1972). Das Bielefelder Stoffgeld
1917-1923. Berlin, Germany: Erich Pröh.
* ^ A B Textiles, Ninth Edition by Sara J. Kadolph and Anna L.
Langford. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
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