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Cotton Hand Spindle Set

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Continued from product description on Home Crafts' Page Seven...

Historical Background: Cotton is a plant, which produces a short, fine fiber between 1/2 inch and 1-1/2 inches in length. "Cotton" is an English word that comes from the Sanskrit word "karpasa." Cotton grows in warm regions and has been cultivated for millennia. Shreds of cotton cloth and cotton bolls have been discovered in a Mexican cave that are at least 7,000 years old. Other discoveries have been made in Pakistan dating back to 3000 B.C. India is thought to have been the first country to actually cultivate cotton, but people in Egypt's Nile River Valley and others in Peru were also familiar with cotton farming. India manufactured and exported a cotton cloth called "muslin" to the Roman Empire as well as Medieval Europe. India continued to export fine muslin cloth until about 200 years ago.

By the early 1500s, Native Americans were growing cotton in America, as documented by the Coronado expedition of 1540-1542. Spaniards who settled in the Florida region began to grow cotton in 1556. When Navajo tribes migrated south from northwestern Canada in the 1300s or 1400s, they learned to grown, spin, and weave cotton.

England, on the other hand, had such a profitable wool market that they enacted laws against the import and export of cotton cloth. However, these laws didn't stop many American colonists from building a cotton-based industry.

In 1607, cotton planting began in Virginia along the James River and soon spread throughout the southern colonies. Since then, cotton plantations have flourished in the "cotton belt" of the United States (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California). Today, there are five prominent types of commercial cotton: Egyptian, Sea Island, American Pima, Asiatic, and Upland.

The cotton industry involves many procedures, most of which were done by hand for centuries. In 1790, Samuel Slater, an English mill worker, migrated to America and is credited with building the first North American cotton mill -- from memory! In 1793, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, which separated the lint (cotton fibers) from their seed husks. Other improvements were made during the second half of the 17th century.

In the early 1930s, a cotton picker was designed that would pick approximately 8,000 pounds of seed cotton in one day. Today, cotton harvesters can harvest 190,000 pounds of seed cotton in one day!

The world's cotton industry presently provides millions of jobs. Cotton is used for making clothing, household goods, medical supplies, industrial thread, and paper money. Even the cotton seeds' oil is used to process foods such as mayonnaise, margarine, and baking and frying oils. Cotton oil is also used in making rubber, explosives, insecticides, cosmetics, and soaps.

Please see our Cotton Hand Spindle Only (4605) for the historical background of hand spindles for cotton. Likewise, see our Cotton Sliver (4606) for the historical background of cotton.

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Cotton Hand Spindle Set
Cotton Hand Spindle Set
Item Number 4604

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