THE strict definition of textile is "a fabric made by weaving"or "a material capable of being woven." For convenience, in the study of cloth, we include under the word "textile" not only the fibers capable of being woven, and woven cloth, but also other materials closely resembling woven cloth, such as felt, bark cloth, knitted and embroidered fabrics.
The modern textile industry is so enormous and its processes so complicated that one cannot understand its mechanism without long and careful study, and observation of the actual working machinery. The foundation principles, however, are the same as those of the savage woman working in the forest with the crudest implements, and the results differ only in degree of refinement. A slow but steady evolution may be traced in this, one of the earliest industries known to mankind. A much more intelligent appreciation of the modern processes may be gained through a study of the ancient industry and of the gradual development of implements and processes up to modern times.
Likewise, there is a marked evolution in the art of color and design displayed in woven fabrics, and the highly developed sense of color and design is better appreciated when the primitive love of crude color has been studied. Main in the forests of Asia expressed himself in his arts and strove to meet his needs through his industries, just as man today expresses his love for color and his appreciation of beauty through beautiful fabrics, and manufactures cloth to protect his body and to make his home more comfortable. Among primitive races woman is the inventor, the pioneer in industries. Man has replaced her in modern manufacture, but she discovered the first principles. Modern science uses the materials which the savage woman found to be best. She learned from nature what materials and what forms to use. The debt we owe to her cannot be overestimated, for the hundreds of years of patient toil and invention by these founders of our race laid a firm foundation for modern progress.