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.
Holland. A term signifying unbleached linen cloth, made in many European countries, but especially in Scotland. The term also indicates a material used exclusively for window blinds, of which there are two kinds, glazed and opaque. The glazed variety is at the present time but little used, owing to the low price to which opaque has fallen. Opaque holland is woven of both linen and cotton, and is made smooth and impervious to the sun's rays (opaqued) by a sizing of oil and starch. In width hollands range from 24 to 115 inches. Brown holland is a plain, unsized linen cloth which has had little or no bleaching and retaining, therefore, more or less closely the natural color of the flax fiber; it is used largely in the manufacture of linen dusters and for the lining of silk dresses. Prior to the introduction of cotton, holland was a fine linen fabric, one grade of which was used especially for shirts and collars. In the old days of grass-bleaching the linens woven in France and England were regularly sent to Holland to be bleached, on account of the bleaching greens occupying so much valuable lands in the former countries. For this reason, this plain-woven, fine-threaded variety received the name of holland. Through com-petiton with cotton, in the United States it in time gradually became a coarser and more heavily sized material, ahd finally it ceased to be used for its former purpose altogether. Then it entered the department of upholstery, and by and by met the fate which many originally linen fabrics have met, the manufacturers substituting cotton, but retaining the former name.