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Textiles, From Tartan Weave to Nanowire Tech

Apr 13, 2008
Textiles are one of the most basic human innovations that brought us out of being a hunter gatherer society and on track to the world we know today -- the plow did some good stuff too, mind you. We take so much for granted, but textiles are one of the most typical industries that we just will assume will be there for us. From mail bags to linens, they are a ubiquity seldom analyzed. This article will dip the finger in the rising froth of the subject, a subject so diffuse. I will offer up a few brief tasty morsels for the curious.

Bit of History

From the beginnings humans of course had to resort to all natural resources to produce their textiles. They found sources in plants, minerals and animals and started with the craft of weaving, which is basically making an elaborate series of interlacing yarn or thread to produce a sheet plane. The same idea stemmed simply by the idea of interlacing branches or leaves in making fences or basket.

Historians gather the origins to be around 12 thousand years ago. If I were around then, I anticipate some new digs with mastodon hair linen treasures.

Spinning, not unlike weaving developed among the ancients. With that, came better ways to spin thread and weave that lead to the invention of the loom and production of yarn. The loom started basically as a tree branch parallel to the ground where the threads or yarn could be strung up to create a cross section. The horizontal and vertical threads, called the warp and the weft, are woven together using the branch as an anchor to hang from. The primitive loom evolved through stages and outpaced thread spinning in the 1700s.

Such unusual named inventions like the Spinning Jenny and the Spinning Mule brought spinning up to speed and textile production became a boom. Normally the men would be doing the weaving, while the women did the spinning, hence the word "spinster" derived from the 1700's.

Post Textile Revolution

Flash forward past the days of steam and the revolt of field working luddites. There is so much that can be gone off tangentwise with the history of textile development. That said, we owe a lot to the trials and tribulations of the event that transpired yesteryear. Every time we shut down shop and stuff those Money bags with the day's earnings, we indirectly stand on the backs of our textile inventors and laborers.

Much of what we've advanced to is synthetic fibers, mostly made from petroleum. Polyester cotton blends are probably adorning your body now. The synthetic stuff results from the crude oil we pipe from the ground. Quite a concept but there is still more coming for the future in textile.

As an example of such new innovation, it's recently been published that a new textile that uses zinc oxide nanowires woven into Kevlar fibers creates a static electricity. This electricity powers a cathode output which can be used to produce colored light. It would make for a gaudy suit, but even larger still, it shows possibility for future power production as small as it may seem.
About the Author
Guntex (http://www.guntexind.com) is a leading manufacturer among bank bags and custom bags that fit a variety of industries. They produce a large palette of color choices for industrial bags like money bags or mail bags. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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