Posted by Roger V on June 14, 1998 at 20:32:59:
In response to A general outline, written by Caroline on June 02, 1998 at 20:05:42
] "Cotton" cloth was used in England at least as far back as the middle ages, but really it was a mixed fibre textile, with a linen warp and cotton weft, it was quite lumpy and coarse, and wasn't used nearly as much as linen on its own. With the coming of the industrial revolution, ways were invented of making a pure cotton cloth, and from about 1750, the product got better and better.Although much of the raw cotton was omported from the U.S., ther was a fairly brisk trade with the East and with North Africa which included cotton. Before the Boston tea party, U.S. raw cotton was shipped to England, turned into cloth, and shipped back again in large quantities.Britain also sold the cloth back to Africa, India and elswhere.
] Wool was a staple of British trade from the middle ages onward, and British wool cloth fetched high prices in Europe (especially France)during Jane Austen's time. The "English Style" of men's clothing especially became popular after the downfall of the French monarch.
] All this is off the top of my head, and I'm sure someone can pick holes in the details, but I believe it to be true in essence.
I'm writing this without having checked my dates correctly, but I do know that the invention of the cotton gin (I THINK in J.A.'s lifetime)was what really gave a boost to the manufacture of cotton cloth. Before that, cotton pods had to be "cleaned" (seeds removed and the fibers combed out) by hand, and this was a slow, laborious process.
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