Nankeen (Nan-Ken). A plain-woven cotton fabric, in former years (1820-1840) extensively imported from Nanking, China, to Europe, whence its name; the "king," however in the course of time and travel having been changed to "keen." It was long supposed the Chinese held the secret for dyeing its peculiar yellowish-buff color, which was found to be remarkably durable. But it was finally discovered by some missionaries that this peculiar color was not produced by dyeing at all, the cloth being made of a buff-colored variety of cotton, which is still occasionally grown in China and India. A similar cotton grows in small quantities in the Southern States, the yellow color apparently depending on some peculiarity in the soil. The color of our "artificial" nankeen is produced by an elaborate process, in which the cloth is first dipped into a saturated solution of alum; then a decoction of oak-bark; then in a bath of lime-water; and next in a bath of nitro-muriate of tin, which makes a permanent dye. Blue, white, and pink varieties have been made, but the brownish-yellowish variety formerly in use for trousers by gentlemen and corsets by ladies, is the nankeen with which the name is generally associated. The weave is either plain or twilled, of the weight of heavy sheeting. At present its use is confined to the manufacture of children's clothes and underwear.