=Hemp= is a fiber that is obtained from the hemp plant. It grows

principally in Russia, Poland, France, Italy, Asia, India, the

Philippines, Japan, and some parts of the United States--Kentucky,

Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and New York. The original country

of the hemp plant was doubtless Asia, probably that part near the

Caspian Sea. The preparatory treatment is similar to that for the flax

plant, except that most of the work is done by machinery. Considered

chemically, in addition to cellulose, hemp fiber contains a

considerable amount of woody matter, differing in this respect from

cotton. Its properties are color (pearl gray, with green or yellow

tints), fineness (which depends upon the quality of the hemp; it is

usually bought as fine as flax), and tensile strength (which is

considerable and greater than that of flax). Its best qualities are

its slight luster and its ability to resist to a great extent the

tendency to rot under water. Owing to the fact that it is difficult to

bleach, it is used chiefly in making string, cord, ropes, etc.

=Sisal Hemp.= Sisal hemp is a variety that grows extensively in

Central America and the West Indies. The plant, the agava rigida, is

similar to what is known in this country as the century plant. The

fiber is found in the leaves which closely surround the stalks. The

common hemp on the other hand is found closely surrounding the woody

part of the stem. The fiber of Sisal hemp is obtained by scraping away

the fleshy part of the leaves with large wooden knives or by machines.

=Manila Hemp.= Manila hemp is obtained in the Philippines. The plant

belongs to the banana family and grows as large as a small tree. The

hemp is obtained from the leaf stalks which appear to form the trunk

of the tree. The fiber is larger, not so stiff, but stronger than

Sisal hemp. The fiber of Russian hemp is the strongest; that of

Italian hemp the finest.

=Jute.= Jute is the name given to the fibers found in certain plants

which grow principally in India, and the East Indian Islands. The

common jute comes principally from the province of Bengal, India,

where it was first known to science in 1725. The term jute was first

applied to the fiber by Dr. Rosburgh in 1795. The plant is cut just

about the time when it appears in full flower. The stalks are then

bundled and retted by steeping in pools of stagnant water.

Jute occupies third position in importance of vegetable fibers in the

manufacturing scale, being inferior to cotton and flax. Hemp is

stronger than jute. Jute becomes weak when exposed to dampness.

It is extensively used for mixing with silk, cotton, flax, hemp, and

woolen fabrics. The coarse varieties are made into coarse

fabrics--sacks, packing cloth, etc., while the finer varieties, in

which the undesirable quality of growing darker with age is less

apparent, are used for making carpets, curtains, and heavy plushes,

for which they are very suitable.

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