Friday, June 16, 2006

Marcandier, writing in France in the mid-eighteenth century, exhorted his nation to grow hemp. His records are some of the best for his age, later authorities including Wissett often quote from him. More recently, Mina Hegaard, founder of Minwear Hemp Clothing and author of a chapter on hemp clothing in Hemp for Victory: History and Qualities of the World's Most Useful Plant, also quotes from Marcandier, citing the following technical information:
This bark is a kind of natural ribband or scarf, the threads whereof are applied and joined together, lengthways only, by a dirty glutinous humor, whish must absolutely be dissolved and seperated, because it is equally hurtful to the workmen and the work. The threads themselves also consist merely of a gum, but of one which is of a different quality from the superficial gum; they are supple, strong, and resist the impression to which the former give way. Every fibre is composed of gummy globules, that are very fine, transparent, and bright, when sufficiently cleared from the superficial gum that surrounds them, and which the microscope shews to be of a different sort. All this will appear plain, if you take a few fibres from a thread that is thoroughly bleached. The fibres of Hemp in this state are nothing different from those of cotton and silk, which makes it reasonable to consider them as materials of the same kind and it is a convincing proof of this, that, when they are mixed and corded together, they appear to be a complete sameness in the whole mixture.

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