|The basic element of fabrics is the wire, him even
resulting from the torsion and the rolling up of fibres,
those being able to be of animal origin (wool and silk)
or vegetable (flax, hemp, cotton, nettles...). In the
case of the use of animal fibres, the man, after having
used the furs, was useful himself of the hairs cut and
pressed in the water giving of the felt, i.e. a not woven
fabric. The idea to assemble these hairs in parallel
resulted in twisting fibre beams to make wire thus
allowing of it the development of the techniques of
weaving. The wools of goats, sheep and camels at the
beginning were used in Mésopotamie, Central Asia and
with the Close East, whereas silk appears initially in
China. Many plants also provide flexible and resistant
stems. Soaked in water, their flexibility increases,
authorizing the appearance of the techniques of basket
making calling upon the wicker, with the reed... Pushed
further, steeping (steeping) allows the degradation of
the envelope external of the stems and the release then
the extraction (stripping) of internal fibres (oakum) of
the flax or hemp. The use of fibres of the flax appears
initially in Egypt, that of cotton in India.
Once the fibre was obtained, the passage to the wire was done by means of the spindle or the stopper rod, until the invention in XIIIème century of the wheel, spinning machine making more effective and rapid the torsion of wire. It was necessary for that to invent the principle of the wheel, the rod and the driving belt. It is seen, the difference between basket making and weaving, however founded on the same principle, lies especially in the use of more sophisticated tools.
But this repetitive work only made it possible to the weaver to carry out a few meters of fabrics per day. The fabrics obtained using vegetable fibres (flax, hemp) being coarser, they were especially used for the household linen (cloths) or the manufacture of fabrics, veils, cords, bags...; whereas the wool offered a greater flexibility and better a protection against the cold or moisture.