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Price: £69.99

  

Fibrilia: a Practical and Economical Substitute for Cotton

By Stephen Merrill Allen

1861 - Boston - L. Burnett and Company

7.5" by 5", x, 182pp plus plates

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DETAILS

A scarce first edition of this fascinating essay suggesting a substitute material to cotton, published during the American Civil War. A singular look at both the cotton industry of the 1860s and the effect of the war upon that, and the rest of the world.

'Embracing a full description of the process of cottonizing flax, hemp, jute, China grass, and other fibre, so that the same may be spun or woven upon either cotton or woollen machinery'.

'Together with a history of the growth and manufacture of wool, cotton, flax etc in Europe and America.

With a fronstispiece depicting the first power flax spinning mill in America, and several further tissue-guarded plates, many featuring microscropic images.

Bookseller and binder's label of Henry Miller, Nassaust New York, to rear pastedown.

Newspaper clipping from 1940 loosely inserted, entitled 'flax possibilities in U.S. as result of war abroad discussed', regarding the resurrection of the methods this book advises.

Fibrilia is 'an article made from the fibres of flax, hemp, jute, China-grass, and similar vegetable products.

The American South has long, hot summers, and rich soils in river valleysideal conditions to grow cotton. The drawback of growing cotton was mainly the time spent processing the crop after harvest. Following invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793, cotton production surpassed that of tobacco in the South and became the dominant cash crop. At the time of the American Civil War, Southern plantations generated 75%25 of the world's cotton supply. The insatiable European demand for cotton was a result of the Industrial Revolution. In Great Britain, a series of inventions resulted in the mechanized spinning and weaving of cloth in the worlds first factories in the north of England. The ability of these factories to produce unprecedented amounts of cotton cloth revolutionized the world economy, but Great Britain needed raw cotton. British textile manufacturers were eager to buy all the cotton that the South could produce. Cotton-bale production supports this conclusion: from 720,000 bales in 1830, to 2.85 million bales in 1850, to nearly 5 million in 1860. Cotton production renewed the need for slavery after the tobacco market declined in the late 18th century. The more cotton grown, the more slaves were needed to keep up with the demand for cotton. By 1860, on the eve of the American Civil War, cotton accounted for almost 60%25 of American exports, representing a total value of nearly $200 million a year.

CONDITION

In original blindstamped cloth binding. Externally rubbed, the joints starting. Internally, generally firmly bound, aside from the first gathering working slightly loose. Bright and clean aside from tidemarks to the gutter at the head and tail throughout, not generally affecting the text. Overall: GOOD ONLY.


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