Merino. The finest wool-bearing breed of sheep in the world, of Spanish origin, so called from their anciently being under the superinten-dency of a maerino (major) or superintendent of the Spanish sheep pastures. For centuries the finer wools used for cloth-making throughout Europe were obtained from Spain, which country was the home of the famous Merino breed, developed from races of sheep introduced by the Romans, the originals of which formed the flocks of the patriarchs thousands of years ago, and have been the parent stock of all fine-wooled sheep since. The Spanish Merino sheep were introduced into Saxony in 1765, and by judicious crossing developed the famous Electoral breed, which produce the most expensive wool grown in Europe. At Rambouillet, France, Merino sheep have been bred for more than a century, and the flock is known all over the world. The Merinos of Rambouillet have the orignal character of the Spanish breed, without any taint or crossing., In America the Merinos are by far the most valuable breed, the wool they produce being second to none. The sheep of the United States are said to be 95 per cent. Merino, this breed thus forming the basis of the entire industry. What are known as the Saxon Merinos (Electoral breed) originated from a flock of 200 Spanish sheep imported to Saxony in 1765. They were bred with great care, and improved over the original in quality of wool. These as well as typical specimens of the species in Spain are yearly brought to the United States and crossed with our native Merinos, to the manifest improvement of the fleece in every instance. [See Fleece, Wool]

Merino. A woolen dress fabric, first made at Bradford, England, in 1826, of pure Merino wool, at which time it was one of the most expensive varieties manufactured. In appearance it is a thin, light "woolen" material, twilled on both sides, back and face alike. Merino is also a term applied to a variety of medium-weight, soft-finished knitted underwear, formerly made of merino wool, but now of cotton and wool mixed.