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.
Net. An open textile fabric, of cotton, linen, hemp, silk, or other material, tied or woven with a mesh of any size. Netting is an art so ancient that no date can be fixed for its invention. That it was practiced for fishing and bird-catching by the earliest inhabiants of earth, there is not a doubt, as ancient scriptural metaphors plainly illustrate the practice of using nets for snaring. The nets for such purposes are represented on Egyptian and Babylonian monuments, and are shown there to have in no-wise differed from modern nets. There is still to be seen in the Museum at Berlin, Germany, some Egyptian nets, and the implements by which they were made, that are 3,000 years old. Netting is formed by the intersecting of threads which wind around each other and are knotted, forming a mesh. Netting was made by hand until 1809, in which year the machine for making bobbinet was invented. The term net is also applied to light, open-woven fabrics, such as gauze and muslin; worn or used as a protection from annoying insects. [See Bobbinet, Lace]