Pubdate: October, 1955
Source: Textiles
Author: Norma Hollen & Jane Saddler, Assistant Professors of Textiles and Clothing, Iowa State College
Published by The MacMillan Company, New York

HEMP (High Strength)

The history of hemp is as old as that of flax. Because hemp lacks the fiber fineness of the better quality flax, it has never been able to compete in the clothing field. Some varieties of hemp are, however, very difficult to distinguish from flax. They look very much alike under the microscope, and when the hemp fiber is properly processed and spun it is a good substitute for flax in some of the larger yarn sizes.

Hemp production and manufacture are very similar to that of flax. In 1942, the Government sponsored a hemp growing program in the United States to supply war needs. Sources of cordage fiber from other parts of the world had been cut off and hemp production was increased to fill these needs. Its high strength and light weight (1) make it particularly suitable for hemp twine, cordage, and thread. Thread was used for stitching the soles of soldiers' shoes. After the war the use of hemp declined, and at the present time it is one of the less important fibers.


(1) Mauersberger, H.R., Matthews' Textile Fibers, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, Sixth Edition, 1954, pp. 313-323.