Fiber. [From Latin filum, a thread, whence also the words file and filament] A thread or filament; any fine, thread-like part of a substance, as a single natural filament of wool, cotton, silk, or asbestos. There is a distinct and interesting difference between the fibers of wool, silk and cotton. As the silk worm makes its fiber it is a soft mucus, the fluid being secreted from the the nose, as it were, in two streams which combine at once in an infinitesimal double thread. This thread is perfectly smooth symmetrical and solid, not hollow like cotton and linen fibres, and without, the minute branchlets the latter have upon them. Wool has scales or hooks, and is spiral, also, which is the reason it shrinks. It creeps together more and more as it is dampened and rubbed, becoming condensed and stiff. The shrinkage of flannel is not wholly to be laid to the washerwoman's ignorance - it is the inherent nature of the stuff to shrink and felt together. Perspiration mats and stiffens it, and so does every form of dampness. Silk is a great absorbent because its fibres are so glassy fine - a sort of spidery catgut - and fluids, water or oil creep between the fibers and are held, but will pass out quickly, evaporating and drying, or will wash out readily. It is like glass, in that nothing clings to it. For this reason it is necessarily hygienic and salutary. In its natural color silk accumulates no germs of disease and moths and bugs find no home in it-Cotton and other vegetable fibers grown from seeds, consist of single elongated tubes, hollow throughout, and without curl or kink. Flax fibre, like cotton, is smooth and hollow, and is jointed at regular intervals after the manner of the stalks of cane, or fishing poles.

Textile fibers in their commercial acceptation includes all substances capable of being spun, woven or felted, numbering at present about 75 separate and distinct varieties. Frequent additions are being made to the list; improved methods of cultivation and preparation, as well as increased facilities of transport, tending to bring into general use numerous kinds of fibers which formerly had only local and limited applications. All textile fibers of recognized commercial importance, will be found classified in the following table, and some points noticed of interest common to all:

Name Of Fiber

Locality

Remarks

Cotton..............

United States, South ) America, Egypt, India____........)

,

Silk-Cotton_________

Sunda, West Indies,) Brazil............

Used only for stuffing.

Vegetable Silk______

India, Senegal, West) Indies, NorthJ-America_____...)

Used only occasionally for stuffing.

Flax...................

Europe, N. America...

See Linen, Flax.

Hemp.................

India, Southern U. S.-

See Hemp.

SunnHemp, Jubbul- ) pore Hemp........)

India _______________

Used as cordage as a substitute for hemp.

Gambo...............

India .................

Resembling and used like jute. See Jute.

Sida Fiber ........

India and Australia...

A cordage fiber.

Yercum...............

 

A valuable fiber, difficult of extraction.

Jettee ..........

India_______..........

Same as above.

Jettee .............

Russia, Siberia and Asia....)

Prepared flax, and much used locally.



Name Of Fiber

Locality

Remarks

Nettle Fiber...................

Europe.........

Occasionally used for textile and paper.

Hemp Nettle.................

Siberia, South Sea } Islands, Japan.............}

Used only in their native countries.

Nilgherry Nettle ----------

India, China.............}

Cultivation restricted on account of the sting.

Alleghanian Nettle, } China Grass, Ra- } mie, Rhea ...............}

United States, Asia, } Java, Nepal............ }

Closely allied fibers. See Ramie.

Puya........................

 

Same as above.

Jute.........................

Bengal................

See Jute.

Raibhenda, Ochro, } Porush....................}

India ....................}

Used in India like jute and sunn hemp, which they resemble.

Porush............................

South America_______

Used for coffee bags in British Guiana.

Bun Ochra............

Bengal_____..........

 

Mahwal, Bun-raj, } Narwali, Sebestena }

India________........

Makes exceedingly tough useful ropes used for coarse cloth, twine and nets.

Lime Tree Bast.......

Europe....._________

Extensively used for mate.

Tapa ...........................

South Sea Islands____

Beaten into native cloth.

Baobab_________......

West Africa...........

Cordage and paper making.

Sterculia...............

India.................

Cordage.

Wawla..........................

 

Not strong.

Warang.........................

West Indies...........

Like lime bast.

Cuba_______..........

West Indies...........

For cigarette wrappers.

Rameta...........................

Deccan..........................

A very strong and almost colorless bast.

Chitrang.........................

India..................

Like the above.

Lace Bark...........

West India............

Ornamental purposes.

Pine Wool__________

Germany..............

Surgical wadding.

Phormium or New } Zealand Flax........ }

New Zealand..........

Coarse cloth.

Manilla Hemp................

East India.............

Ship cordage.

Plantam Fiber........

Tropical regions......

Cordage.

Bowstring Hemp____

India, Ceylon.........

A strong fiber.

Sisal or Grass Hemp..

Central America, W. } Indies .................... }

Cordage, brush-making, etc.

Agave Fiber.......

Central America, W. } Indies }

Cordage.

Silk Grass............

South America........

Cordage.

Pina Fiber.......................

Phillipene Islands..}

Woven into very fine textures.

Fibres Of Animal Origin are few, but of the highest value while vegetable fibres are of an endless variety, and of the most diverse character as to quality. Animal fibres may be classed under two heads, silk and wool, using the terms in an extended sense. Animal and vegetable fibres present marked differences, not only in appearance, feel, and structure, but also in chemical character, and can be readily recognized in any mixed fabric by appropriate tests. Thus analine dyes, which communicate strong permanent colors to wool and silk, only produce on vegetable fibres a fugitive, easily-washed-out stain. Vegetable fibres in a mixed fabric may be distinguished by boiling a fragment of the material in a solution containing 10 per cent. of soda, whereby the animal fibres dissolve, leaving the vegetable fibres intact. The sulphur contained in wool, from which silk is free, gives a ready means of distinguishing a mixture of these two fibres. In a solution of plumbate of soda wool becomes black, while silk is quite unaffected. For further tests see Cotton, Silk, Linen, Wool.