The history of textiles and the textile industry

Each meter of textile material produced in our days, still bears the memory and knowledge acquired and accumulated over centuries and millennia, during which the person was engaged in one of the oldest technologies.
At least six thousand years ago, before the first chemical fibres (at the end of the 19th century) people already knew and used the four major natural fibers: linen, cotton, wool and silk.
Archaeological excavations show that even the earliest stages of development, these people were able to grow fiber and recycled in products. Involved in the struggle for their existence with nature, adapting it to their needs.
First mastered cultivated by man was flax fiber. Five thousand years before Christ in the valley of the Nile river on the territory of modern Egypt from flax made of fabric. Even before our ancestors knew how to extract fiber from the stems of bast plants, to weave from them the similarity of fabrics and use them to cover his body.
Residents found by archaeologists on the banks of a Swiss lake ancient settlement, which flourished in the late stone age (Neolithic ~ 8 - 3 thousand years BC), were able to spin and weave linen.
During excavation of this settlement in Switzerland have been discovered strands of flax, fragments of tissues and rudimentary devices, which produced yarn and fabric. Millennium these materials have lain under a layer of silt in the lake water and therefore preserved.
The second most important fiber that has mastered a man was wool. In the Neolithic period (late stone age) people was used along with flax wool. The residents of the ancient settlements on the territory of modern Switzerland bred sheep. The earliest date associated with sheep and wool production, confirmed by excavations, corresponds to 4000 years BC. In the valley of the Euphrates (Ancient Mesopotamia) raised the sheep, spun the wool and wove the primitive tissue. In ancient Babylon, manufactured woolen cloth, and in the country of UR (mentioned in the Bible) near the Persian Gulf, archaeologists have unearthed an ancient mosaic depicting the breeding of sheep.
This corresponds to ~ 3500 year BC. The third most important fiber, developed cotton. The first tangible evidence of its production refers to 1000 years BC, as evidenced by archaeological excavations of settlements in India. Studies show that cotton began to be used in Egypt several thousand years BC Merchants imported cotton from India to the middle East to Central Asia and then to China.
The word cotton ("cotton") comes from the Arabic word "quoton". One of the mysteries of human civilization, the question remains: how man learned to grow cotton, spin it and weave fabrics at the same time on different continents (in Asia and in South America, in the country of the ancient Incas - Peru). Still undiscovered by the Europeans in South America, the ancient Incas manufactured cotton fabric excellent by modern standards of color design and quality. Thus, these technologies have been utilized in prehistoric times separated from each other by thousands of kilometers of the continents.
Some scientists believe that this fact is an additional argument in favor of the theory of geological movement of continents and speculation about the existence of another continent (Atlantis) in the Pacific in prehistoric times. This, of course, historical speculation, but the fact remains that in Egypt 2500 years BC were able to make fabrics of the highest quality that are not inferior to modern. The Egyptian mummies that were wrapped in fabric with density 540 threads per 1 inch. The best modern English fabrics of this type have a density of 350 threads per 1 inch.
The fourth most important natural fiber - silk. Probably the Home of its manufacture was China. The legend goes that a Chinese Empress Hyun-Ling-Chi (~2600 BC) first discovered this wonderful fiber. She accidentally dropped a cocoon into hot water and saw that from the softened cocoons separated silk thread. The Empress realized the possibility of using these fibers. Thus was born the ancient culture of silk production based on the life of the silkworm feeding on the leaves of white mulberry (mulberry).
True to this legend or not - does not matter. It is true that technology vydelyayas silk fabrics going on here, or from China or other Far East countries and its birth corresponds to ~3000 BC
The Chinese brought the culture and manufacture of silk and silk fabrics to perfection and about 1400 years BC, silk fabrics of various types and clothing have become the subject of normal consumption in these countries. In China there was at this time a tax on the use of silk products.
Thus four natural fibres were developed and used for the production of fabrics of prehistoric man on the technological scheme: cultivation - spinning - weaving. This simple scheme, invented more than 6 thousand years ago, did not change much still, going from manual to highly automated high-speed (robotics) technology. The simplest spinning wheels and looms that are found during excavations of ancient settlements are based on the same principles as modern automated textile spinning and weaving equipment.

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