Gingham. [A term derived from the town of its early manufacture, Guinghamp, France, in the department of Cotes-du-Nord]. A close, stout, plain (untwilled) cotton cloth, woven into yarn-dyed checks and stripes of two or more colors. It differs from calico in the circumstance that its colors are woven in instead of being printed on the cloth, and from sateen for the same reason and also in not being twilled. In the case of umbrella ginghams the whole piece is woven of yarn of one color. Under the general term of gingham a great variety of materials are manufactured, the trade distinction of "gingham" being now to a large extent superseded by other terms. Seersucker gingham was originally a thin linen fabric made in the East Indies, having blue stripes alternating with white ones. Zephyr gingham, as the name indicates, is an extremely soft and pliable variety, woven of fine yarns, and finished devoid of " sizing," frequently found in small checks and plaids. Madras gingham is the name applied to a very superior kind, in which the pattern is made to imitate the waved lines and simple embroidery work of Madras cloth. Scotch and French ginghams are merely superior qualities of domestic goods. Toile-du-Nord is a French phrase for Cloth of the North. Small, square-checked ginghams are designated as " two-by-two," " four-by-four," etc., which has reference to the size of the checks: the two-by-two having two white threads intersected by two threads of some dark color every alternate time; the four-by-four having four threads of each color, and the six-by-six six threads of a color crossing each other, and so on. Standard ginghams weigh about six and one-quarter yards to the pound, and count from sixty to seventy threads per inch.

On leaving the loom ginghams present a very crude appearance. It is in a great measure the finish that lends to a piece of gingham its chief attractiveness. Before finishing, however, the cloth is carefully inspected and any pieces that contain imperfectly woven spots are laid aside and finished separately, to be classed as "seconds." The cloth is then run through a starching machine adjusted so as to supply the amount of starch necessary to produce the required degree of stiffness. This part of the process requires great care as on the degree of stiffness the satisfactory nature of the finish will largely depend. The wetting of the cloth in the starching process has a tendency to shrink the cloth, and to counteract this and to produce an even width throughout each piece, the goods are placed on a tentering machine. This consists of two parallel endless chains traveling over a platform several yards in length. Clamps on each chain clasp the edges of the cloth, and by the aid of small pins to prevent its slipping, hold it out to the desired width. If the cloth has been dried after the starching process, it is necessary to steam it while on the tentering machine, so as to moisten the fabric and give it elasticity, but as the cloth travels slowly over the platform it encounters a heated surface and is gradually dried, while the chains holding it apart prevent any shrinkage. To produce a glossy surface the cloth is then passed between heated iron rollers, which act in the same manner as the flat-iron in the hands of a laundress. This process is called calendering. Of course, attention must be paid to the amount of calendering the goods receive. If too highly calendered the cloth is apt to appear too light and flimsy and if not sufficiently calendered it may appear harsh and rough. The amount of starching and calendering, however, largely depends on the purposes for which the goods may be intended, a specially hard and glossy finish being occasionally called for. When the calendering has been completed each piece of cloth is rolled upod a board by an automatic machine which, by the number of revolutions made, registers the number of yards in the piece. The work of banding and ticketing is then performed and the gingham is ready to be packed in cases for delivery.