Linen industry involves different processes and variable materials

The linen industry has a long history. It goes back to the 17th century, when linen was produced in mills. But then the conditions were rather poor and unsuitable. But linen should be weaved in a hot and humid atmosphere. The linen source is flax, produced and sold by local people in different countries (Ireland, Scotland, Belarus etc.). The importance of the linen trade is growing from year to year.

Linen is a fabric made of flax. This material is rather durable and strong; it doesn't go bad in moist conditions. The distinguishing feature of linen is that its durability becomes higher when it gets wetter. Its so-called "staple" is long and very relative to some natural fibers, for example, cotton. So, flax is an integral part of the linen industry. Historians believe that this vegetable fiber was the first one that people discovered.

Linen was first found in Egyptian tombs. The history has it not only Egyptians, but also Jews and Greeks wore linen. It was the symbol of purity, luxury and dignity of priests. So, first flax cultivators were Romans, who later introduced it into European countries. Charlemagne was the first man, who tried to encourage linen industry in the Middle Ages.

The most interesting history of the linen industry is connected with Great Britain, where it developed from the 17th century. As historians indicate, the industry was supported by high-powered politicians. The market of linen expanded and England began to sell finished clothes. Where did the country get the necessary amount of flax? From Northern-American countries. In 1787 the first flax-spinning mill opened in Great Britain. But the problem was that some textile inventions couldn't be appropriate for linen. And the linen industry suffered from comparing with the cotton one.

In the 1950th the quality of synthetic fibers improved and, that's why, there was some decrease in using linen.

From the very beginning till today the most important and essential linen suppliers are Holland, Baltic and North-American countries. All other countries import this linen source. It should be grown in certain conditions. And it takes much time and efforts because it should be hand made.

Several ages ago the linen industry was cottage-based. Linen was produced in factories and mills. The first equipment for linen industry was developed in England, but during the Industrial Revolution all the machines and technologies were improved and became less labor intensive. Today only history can remind you of the times when people worked hard in dire working conditions to earn their living. Many kinds of equipment used in the past are now displayed in different museums.

Nowadays, the largest linen producers are Ireland, Japan, Russia and Belgium. Today it's very difficult to find really high-quality linen on sale, because it is often hand made and appreciated as a material of art. Of course, it doesn't mean that there's no linen in mass production. There are many types of this material: sack-linen, silk alike and others. Today the market of linen is more specialized. All the producers are trying to improve the quality of their goods to meet the demands of the most exigent consumers.

Trade is still very important in the linen industry. Many countries specialize strictly on flax growing, others import it and make linen. So, today linen is not only one of the fibers, but it is aslo an important part of economy of many countries.

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