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Re: [BKARTS] Hemp Cord

I've pulled some of my old Institute of Paper Conservation journals off
the shelf.  There were some excellent fiber identification guides a few
years back (early 80's).  In them, the authors- Collings and Milner-
state that many materials are known as hemp but are of a completely
different genus than Cannabis sativa.  They list at least twelve with
the word 'Hemp' in their common name.  I think that this means what we
can currently buy labeled Hemp in terms of thread, cord and paper may or
may not be the genuine product.  Manilla Hemp (Musa textilis) as the
name suggests was and is used for textiles and I wonder if much of
today's products come from this source.
As for the Declaration of Independence, though I haven't read a fiber
analysis, I suspect it wasn't completely made of a 'hempen' fiber.  Such
paper would have been extremely coarse and somewhat rigid.  During the
1700's paper furnish came from recycled materials- ropes, sails, sailor
uniforms have all been implicated- rather than raw material, generally.
My guess is that small fibers from ropes found their way into the pulp
vat largely composed of linen and/or cotton, and now we have a legend
that the Founding Fathers printed on hemp.

Doug Sanders

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Susan Fatemi [mailto:susanf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 12:20 PM
> To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Hemp Cord
> At 09:12 AM 3/25/2003 -0500, you wrote:
> >It's my understanding that hemp fibers deteriorate over time whereas
> >fibers do not.  I've read that people who make hooked rugs should not
use a
> >hemp/burlap fabric as a rug base for that reason.
> I have to chime in here: there's no connection between hemp and
> burlap. Burlap is made from jute, and does deteriorate fairly
> quickly (you can plant things still wrapped in burlap and it will
> just rot away).
> Hemp is a completely different plant and fiber, cannabis sativa.
> It is resistant to mildew, sun-rot, etc. Sailing ship sails were
> made from hemp, which was considered superior to canvas made
> from linen and certainly cotton. Supposedly, the original distributed
> copies of the Declaration of Independence were printed on hemp
> paper (there's irony for you).
> I know many of the organizations in this country currently touting
> the benefits of hemp have a drug agenda, but it really is a wonderful
> fiber.
> Susan Fatemi
> susanf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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