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Cashmere Wool History

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Cashmere has been manufactured in Nepal and Kashmir for thousands o{f years. Famous shawls are the jamavar with the famous paisley pattern. The fiber is also known as pashm (Persian for wool) or pashmina (Persian/Urdu word derived from Pashm) for its use in the handmade shawls of Kashmir. References to woolen shawls appear in texts surviving from between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. However, the founder of the cashmere wool industry is traditionally thought to have been the 15th-century ruler of Kashmir, Zain-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Turkestan. Other sources consider cashmere crafts were introduced by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani.In 14th-century Mir Ali Hamdani came to Kashmir along with 700 craftsmen from different parts of Persia when Mir Ali Hamadani came to Ladakh, home land of cashmere goats, for the first time in history he found that the Ladakhi goats produced soft wool. He took some wool and made socks and gave them as a gift to the king of Kashmir, sultan Kutabdin. Afterwards Hamadani suggested to the king that they start a shawl weaving industry in Kashmir using this wool. The United Nations specialized agency UNESCO reported in 2014 that Ali Hamadani was one of the principal historical figures who shaped the culture of Kashmir, both architecturally and also through the flourishing of arts and crafts and hence economy in Kashmir. The skills and knowledge that he brought to Kashmir gave rise to an entire industry.

 

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Kashmir (then called Cashmere by the British) had a thriving industry producing shawls from goat down imported from Tibetand Tartary through Ladakh. The down trade was controlled by treaties signed as a result of previous wars. The shawls were introduced into Western Europe when the General in Chief of the French campaign in Egypt (1799–1802) sent one to Paris. The shawl's arrival is said to have created an immediate sensation and plans were put in place to start manufacturing the product in France.
 
Trading in Commercial quantities of raw cashmere between Asia and Europe began with Valerie Audresset SA, Louviers, France claiming to be the first European company to commercially spin cashmere. The down was imported from Tibet through Kasan the capital of the Russian province Volga and was used in France to create imitation woven shawls. Unlike the Kashmir shawls, the French shawls had a different pattern on each side. The imported cashmere was spread out on large sieves and beaten with sticks to open the fibers and clear away the dirt. After opening, the cashmere was washed and children removed the coarse hair. The down was then carded and combed using the same methods used for worsted spinning.
 
In 1819, M. Jaubert, at the expense of M. Ternaux and under the auspices of the French government, imported several Tibetan and Tartary cross goats into France. Edward Riley (nephew of Alexander Riley) saw the herd in 1828, and described it as a mixture of colors from brown to white, covered with coarse hair, with an average of three ounces (84 grams) of down underneath the hair. Mr Riley also saw M. Polonceau's herd. Polonceau selected from the Ternaux herd and crossed his animals with a selected fine Angora buck. In 1831, Mr Riley went back to France and purchased ten females in kid and two bucks from Mr Polonceau and sent them to Australia. At the time, the average production of the Polonceau herd was 16 ounces (500 grams) of down.
 
By 1830, weaving cashmere shawls with French-produced yarn had become an important Scottish industry. The Scottish Board of Trustees for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures offered a 300 Pound Sterling reward to the first person who could spin cashmere in Scotland based on the French system. Captain Charles Stuart Cochrane collected the required information while in Paris and received a Scottish patent for the process in 1831. In the autumn of 1831, he sold the patent to Henry Houldsworth and sons of Glasgow. In 1832 Henry Houldsworth and sons commenced the manufacture of yarn, and in 1833 received the reward.
Dawson International claim to have invented the first commercial dehairing machine in 1890, and from 1906 they purchased cashmere from China, but were restricted to purchasing fiber from Beijing and Tianjin until 1978. In 1978 trade was liberalised and Dawson International began buying cashmere from many provinces.
 
Many early textile centers developed as part of the American Industrial Revolution. Among them, the Blackstone Valley became a major contributor to the American Industrial Revolution. The town of Uxbridge, Massachusetts became an early textile center in the Blackstone Valley, which was known for the manufacture of cashmere wool and satinets.
Austrian Textile Manufacturer Bernhard Altmann is credited with bringing cashmere to America on a mass scale beginning in 1947cashmere

 

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