Cotton is a natural fiber of vegetable origin. Liken linen, jute, or hemp. Mostly composed of cellulose and formed by twisted, ribbon-like shaped fibers. Cotton is the “fruit” of a shrubby plant commonly referred to as the “cotton plant”. It’s a beautiful plant.
And it comes to us in 1,500 species and can grow 10 meters or 33 feet high in the wild. Domesticated, for commercial cultivation it ranges between 1-2 meters or 3-3.5 feet
There are entire books on this subject. We’ll zip through the highlights. Literacy references lead us to Asia and pre-Columbian America as the birth places of cultivated cotton.
The first cotton fabrics seems to date back to approximately as early as 3200 BC as revealed by fragments of cloth found at the Mohenjo-Daro archaeological site on the banks of the River Indus.
From India cotton textiles probably passed to Mesopotamia where the trade started around 600 years BC. There is evidence to suggest that trade in cotton started around Rome at the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC.
The beginning of the cotton industry is Europe is thought to be 1641.
What are the post industrial revolution inventions?
The critical inventions leading to mass cotton textile productions are:
Kay – 1733 – first flying shuttle
Hargreaves – 1764 first spinning wheel operating several spindles
Arkwright – 1767 – water-powered machine to draw out and turn the cotton thread
Whitney – 1793 – invention of the cotton gin
Jacquard – 1805 – automatic weaving loom endowed with a chain of cards with holes punched in the loom could weave several patterns.
What about cottons history in America?
Cotton played a substantial and electrifying role in American history. Economically, racially, sectional, and socially. Cotton cultivation was a major source of conflict before during and after the Civil war.
Cotton was grown in North America before any European pitched their tents on the continent. English settlers were the firth to use cotton and weave and sew homespun garments. Once the America Revolution really moved into high gear and the English cut off the supply of cotton fabric large demand was created for fabric. Then with the various innovations listed above the industry in America exploded in scale and competency.
Productions rose from 2 million pounds in 1791 to a billion pounds in 1860 by 1840 the United States was producing over 60 percent of the world’s cotton. And sparked an economic boom for some Americans financing railroads and territorial expansion
The crop comprised more than half the total value of domestic exports in the period 1815-1860 and in 1860 earnings from cotton paid for 60 percent of all imports
Meanwhile the profitability of cotton or king cotton as it was touted solidified the south dependence on the plantation system and its foundation slave labor a small class of slave barons especially cotton planters dominated the politics and society of the south
Finally during the 1830’s the south political and economic paradigm caused serious friction with the rest of the country. Once it was clear the cotton cultivation was being moved westward. The prospect of new and additional slave states and the plantation system was deeply disturbing the Northerners.
While cotton and the use of slave labor was not the only cause of the civil war the Union was very concerned with t the federal rights of a republic as new areas entered the union
On January 13th 1865 congress approved thirteenth amendment and the complete abolition of slaves. During the civil war 620,000 people lost their lives. And cotton continued on its prosperous rather rocky road
where is the most cotton grown?
2007 cotton year in bales (bales is almost 400lbs)
These 5 countries alone produced over 75% of the world’s cotton
What is the world’s total consumption of cotton recently?
World total 117.8 million bales
what are some historical prices of cotton?
1999 – $.50
2000 – $.62
2001 – $.35
Is cotton still picked by hand anywhere in the world?
Yes in China, Uzbekistan, and most African countries
Are there special requirements for cotton used in Denim?
Because weavers require specific yarn strengths spinners must use a specific grade of cotton to meet weaving needs. The strength of a cotton yarn is related to the length of the cotton fiber known as the staple