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Sewing Machine Fault Finder                     Sewing machine Tension Problems

A  BRIEF HISTORY OF COTTON

By

Alex Askaroff 

 

 

 

 

  Alex I Askaroff

Alex has spent a lifetime in the sewing industry and is considered one of the foremost experts of pioneering machines and their inventors. He has written extensively for trade magazines, radio, television, books and publications world wide.

 

 

Most of us know the name Singer but few are aware of his amazing life story, his rags to riches journey from a little runaway to one of the richest men of his age. The story of Isaac Merritt Singer will blow your mind, his wives and lovers his castles and palaces all built on the back of one of the greatest inventions of the 19th century. For the first time the most complete story of a forgotten giant is brought to you by Alex Askaroff

See Alex Askaroff on Youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-NVWFkm0sA&list=UL

 

 

 

A Brief History of Cotton

 

 

 

Have you ever asked yourself how old is cotton? 

 

 

I can easily imagine our ancestors walking along, foraging for food and coming across wild cotton. They would have rolled in between their fingers, put it in their ears in a cold wind, their footwear when winter drew in, padded their hide skins with it, cleaned themselves with it, even stored food in it.

 

Cotton has a thousand uses but how long was it before one of our ancestors rolled it into lengths and roughly wove it together to form a pad. And then how long before they teased it into threads and wove it into fabric. The history of cotton is really the history of the human race.

 

We know that our earliest ancestors used animal skins, cotton, hemp and hessian to cover themselves and as new archaeological evidence comes to light it is showing us that even 80,000 years ago humans had covered their bodies. We may find that it goes even further back! So let us look at this fabulous natural fibre, cotton.

 

 

 

 

Scientists in Mexico found pieces of fabric made from cotton cloth that were at least 7,000 years old. They also found that the cotton all those years ago was very similar to that grown today.

 

 

Wild Cotton Bud


In Pakistan, cotton was being woven into cloth over 5,000 years ago.

 

Cleopatra wore the finest cotton grown in the Egyptian’s Nile valley, not while soaking in asses milk though!

 

The first spinning wheel was thought to have originated in India about 500 years before Jesus was born. from that point on cloth was available to all who could afford it.

 

Thread in various forms soon followed which allowed the fabric to be joined.

Arab merchants brought cotton to Europe about 800 A.D.

 

By the 1450's, cotton was known throughout the world.

 

When Columbus bumped into a big lump of land and called it America in 1492, he found cotton already growing.

 

Cotton seeds are believed to have been planted in Florida around 1556 and in Virginia in 1607. 

 

By 1616, colonists were growing cotton along the James River in Virginia.

 

Cotton was first spun by machinery in England in 1730.

 

You can see more on my Coats and Clark history at the end of the page. Sewing machine threads. 

 

Cotton played an important part in the American Civil war and was a precious resource.

 

A Massachusetts man, Eli Whitney, secured a patent on the cotton gin in 1793. Though patent  records show that the first cotton gin could have been built by Noah Homes two years before Whitney’s patent. 

 

The cotton gin, where we get the abbreviation of en--gine, could work 10 times faster than hand.The modern world had arrived.

The mechanised gin, not the liquid stuff boys! Made it possible to supply large quantities of cotton fibre to the expanding textile industry.

 

That in turn made it possible to obtain cheaper clothing. Now we could all wear different clothes instead of the same dirty ones.

 

Today cotton is still one of the finest, natural and most durable of materials, even though it does crease like crazy.

 

Now, to follow on from cotton to threads and sewing click here: History of sewing threads

 

 

 


Current day cotton pickers in Mexico picking for the denim industry.

 

 

 

 

 History of sewing threads

 

 

 


By the 1850's cotton was easily available at the corner store and sold by hundreds of different suppliers.

 

 

 

Campbell's Irish linen thread was made in Belfast.
 

There is a lot more of the history of cotton in relation to the sewing machine in my history of sewing machine threads. Simply click on the Campbell's thread picture below.

 

Campbell's sewing machine thread was linen not cotton but worked well in thicker fabrics.

 

Invention of the wooden thread spool

Right, we have to have a quick history lesson here to lay the foundation of how thread came about. To hand weave a small bale of cotton or weft into thread could take weeks of hard work by hand. For most of history cotton and other material was hand woven for use in the manufacture of cloth and from early civilisation right up until the 17th century things had not changed that much but then BINGO.

 

You can just see the spools of thread on this Spinning Jenny. From this you can see how the smaller wooden spools evolved into the thread spools we know today.

James Hargreaves invention of The Spinning Jenny in 1764, changed all that as it sped up the process of cotton thread manufacture. This was basically a response to keep up with John Kay's Flying Shuttle of 1733 which had sped up cloth manufacture which in turn had increased yarn and thread demand by the weavers (by doubling their productivity). The Spinning Jenny could supply that demand.

Next, The Spinning Mule, invented by Samuel Crompton in 1779, spun fibres into yarn and thread even faster. It was a similar type of machine that spun the cotton thread onto cotton spools for hand sewing and later sewing machine use and so the cotton reel was born, yippee.


With silk becoming more and more expensive a substitute was needed and Dewhurst made some superb threads in their Skipton mills. Take a quick read of my sewing thread history.

With mass production in the fabric industry material became cheaper and for the first time more available to the working classes like you and me. This in turn allowed us all to dress a little better and even have a separate suit for Sunday church! Cotton has changed our world (and still makes the best bed sheets).

 

Most of us know the name Singer but few are aware of his amazing life story, his rags to riches journey from a little runaway to one of the richest men of his age. The story of Isaac Merritt Singer will blow your mind, his wives and lovers his castles and palaces all built on the back of one of the greatest inventions of the 19th century. For the first time the most complete story of a forgotten giant is brought to you by Alex Askaroff.

 

History of sewing threads

 

Fancy a funny read: Ena Wilf  & The One-Armed Machinist

A brilliant slice of 1940's life: Spies & Spitfires

All Alex's books are now on: www.crowsbooks.com

 


Alex's stories are now available to keep. Click on the picture for more information.

 

 

 

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