Saturday, June 26, 2010

Poplar cotton or poplar silk? The experiment continues...

As mentioned earlier, the late 18th century saw a rise in (protectionism-triggered?) experiments to make cotton from home-grown plants.
F.X. Herzer was the main German researcher in this respect, but he based his efforts mainly on the work by Lindquist in the Swedish Annals of the Royal Academy and the machine Lindquist invented for the process. (A description of L.'s machine can be found in Bd. VII, p. 51 etc.). He also refers to the product as such: 'Swedische Baumwolle', that is what it is supposed to be.
Local names would be 'Jolster' or 'Hälster' in Swedish, where it was collected (as Herzer states) in Ostgotland and Smaland. (Gesammelte Nachrichter, 1793).
But the actual use seemed limited: the suggestion was to use the 'silk' (Herzer gets more and more lyrical about the matter in the course of writing) for repairing worn stockings. And then still, seed removal remained hard and laborous.

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