A Brief History of Hessian Fabric

December 4, 2017

Here at Lowinsacks, we have been in business since 1952, however, the history of our products goes back much, much further. Today we are going to look at one of the most popular materials that we work with: Hessian cloth. Hessian cloth has a long and interesting history that is worth knowing about, particularly if you are in the market for new sacks or cloth for your own business. Without mincing words, let's learn about Hessian cloth, where it came from, and why you might want to consider using it for your next project.

History of Hessian Cloth

You may be familiar with Hessian cloth without knowing it. There are different regional names for the material, depending on where you are at in the world. In North America, Hessian cloth is typically referred to as burlap. A trip to the Mediterranean would have you calling Hessian cloth by the name crocus. In any event, Hessian cloth is a specially woven fabric that is typically sourced from the jute plant. Jute plants are fibrous, long shafts that are known for their prevalence and affordability. Typically, these plants grow anywhere from 1 to 4 meters in height. Now that we can properly appreciate what Hessian cloth is derived from, we can leap further into its fascinating history.

By now, you are no doubt wondering why a cloth derived from the jute plant earned the name 'Hessian'. Well, the answer lies in its common connotation throughout history. Hessian Soldiers famously used this type of cloth in their uniforms and as such, people began to associate the cloth with the soldiers. Over time, our vocabulary changed and the word evolved into its current form. Still, this isn't where Hessian cloth got its start.

The earliest usage of Hessian fabric can be tracked down to the early 19th century in India. Back then, Hessian cloth was typically used for carpeting and rugs. From there, the fabric was exported around the world where it would eventually land in Jamaica, North America and eventually everywhere else. The proliferation of this fabric can be traced largely back to the East India Company which saw that there was very real value in a material that was durable, aesthetically appealing, and flexible for usage.

Nowadays, Hessian cloth is used for a variety of different products that fit into a variety of different industries. We use our Hessian cloth in order to craft durable sacks that can be used in construction, upholstery, agriculture and even engineering. There seems to be no shortage of what you can do with this wondrous material.

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