The Wool Effect?
Did you know that sheep were first bred for their wool not their meat? Once man discovered its durability and warmth they set about developing processes and tools for making wool and by 4000 BC were wearing pure wool clothing. The wool trade exploded during the 11th and 12th Centuries, with the English at the forefront of raising sheep and the Flemish as master processors. Interestingly, the English sold the wool to the Flemish as a raw material and once processed the Flemish then sold it back to the English!
Of course the English soon realized the economic advantages of processing wool in England and in order to enhance her position in the wool trade, English laws were enacted requiring judges, professors and students to wear robes made of English wool. It was also required, during that time, that the dead be buried in English wool only! When the American colonists attempted to use English sheep to improve their herd blood lines, the English took things a step further and passed a law that threatened the amputation of the hand of any American colonists caught using an English sheep to improve the lineage of their flocks.
As you can see, great lengths were taken to protect wool throughout history. Not alone because of its durability and warmth but also because of its fire resistant properties. The density of it’s fibers would require more oxygen than is available in the air to burn. Wool also has a naturally high nitrogen level and water content which makes it impossible for a flame to grow and so when in contact with fire, wool only smolders. Wools durability and natural flame resistant properties make it the perfect fiber for interiors such as carpets, upholstery and bedding.
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