The history of wool dates back to Stone Age humans and emerges in our times as the source of luxurious cashmere, finely-woven merino wools, and rugged ragg wool gloves.
Textiles research is ever moving forward to create wool fabrics and blends that offer more and more advantages in a fiber that people have loved for 10,000 years.
Whether you are looking for tough ragg wool gloves, a finely spun merino wool cardigan, or handsome Irish knit sweaters, your garment is a descendent in the long and illustrious history of wool production and weaving.
1. The wool trade existed at least as far back as the Stone Age - ten thousand years of more!
2. The Spanish Crown financed the voyages of Christopher Columbus with it wool trade.
3. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were lit by tallow made from sheep's fat.
4. Every ancient people who ruled the seas dominated the wool trade in their turn - Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and British.
5. Merino wool, an especially fine yarn, was so highly prized that the Spanish refused to export the breed for a long time.
6. Christians are familiar from the Bible with sheep as symbols of innocence. Woolen garments and shepherds crooks are retained as parts of religious leaders costumes to this day. -- in Roche (1995).
Cole (1923) studied how American wool manufactures benefited by what would we call today buy-outs and consolidation within the industry.
Until 1923 smaller, family manufacturing plants manufactured wool fabric, because the fiber required more hands-on labor than cotton or silk.
The finer the quality of the wool fabric, the more labor is needed.
The American Wool Manufacturing Company bought out many smaller plants, and the consolidation was good overall for the industry, Cole concludes.
From ancient times until today, production and prices have since been subject to the vicissitudes of world wars, protectionist laws and tariffs, and demand.
Today, advanced technologies are improving the characteristics of wool textiles.
Kan et al. (2007), for example, describe a low-temperature plasma treatment that improves the cloth's shrinkage, wettability, and thermal properties. This is an environmentally-friendly procedure because no chemicals are used.
Wool remains one of your favorite textiles for winter garments. Some of the most popular are ragg wool gloves, a finely spun merino wool cardigan, and handsome Irish knit sweaters.
Bateman, N. (2004). From rags to riches: Blackwell Hall and the wool cloth trade, c. 1450-1790. Post-Medieval Archaeology, 38(1), 1-15.
Boyé, B. (2006, June). Lessons in class. Men's Health, 21(5), 166-171.
Cole, A. H. (1923).Neglected chapter in the history of combinations: The American Wool Manufacture. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 37, 436-75.
Kan, C. W., Yuen, C. W. M., Chan, C. K., & Lau, M. P. (2007). Effect of Surface treatment of the properties of wool fabric. Surface Review & Letters, 14(4), 559-563.
Kimbrough, T. C. (2009). Get wise with wool. Wearables, 13(8), 26.
Roche, J(ulian). (1995). The history of wool production (Ch. 1). In The International Wool Trade. Sawston, GB: Woodhead Publishing Ltd.
Smail, J. (1999). The Sources of Innovation in the Woollen and Worsted Industry of Eighteenth-Century Yorkshire. Business History, 41(1), 1-15.