This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Canvas. [From L. Cannabis, hemp] Originally canvas meant any coarse texture woven of hempen thread. Evolution has corrupted the pronunciation to plain canvas, and changed the material to cotton and linen. At present it is known as unbleached cotton or linen cloth, never twilled, but always plain-woven, used for tailoring purposes, tents, sails, etc. Honeycomb, Java, Penelope, Aida, Railroad and Congress, are varieties of canvas, woven in small square meshes, used for working fancy embroidered toilet articles with the needle. Also a carefully woven linen fabric used as a surface for oil paintings. It is prepared by stretching it tightly on long frames and covering it with one or two coats of neutral colored paint. Four kinds are known to the trade: Single Prime, Smooth, Roman and Twilled.