perfect 36

John McChesney-Young panis at PACBELL.NET
Wed Jan 21 16:22:08 UTC 2004

I had posted here yesterday:

<<I found a note at this page by an anthropologist, Katrina Worley:

which discusses the recent history of standard fabric widths>>

and cc'ed the note to KW. She responded with:

Katrina Worley <kworley at>

I'm guessing the "perfect 36-inch quality"
fabric had to do with the finished width of the fabric as opposed to
the loom width.  When weaving the fabric, it's under tension.  A warp
that's 36" in the reed will pull in as it's woven, and then even
further once it's off the loom (the take up is more severe in length
than width, but can be as much as 10-15% in the latter), so a piece
that's 36 in the reed may end up as narrow as 30" once it's off the
loom.  In the 18th and 19th century fabric widths were often "loom
widths", not finished widths (lumber dimension are similar- a 2x4 isn't
2x4, it's 1.75 x 3.75).  My interpretation of the early 20th century ad
using the term "perfect 36" is that it may refer to finished fabric
width (IOW- it's REALLY 36" wide, not 36" wide before it's woven).

(end quote)


*** John McChesney-Young  **  panis at  **   Berkeley,
California, U.S.A.  ***

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