Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books
A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology

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linen

A cloth (and sewing thread) made from straw of the flax plant, genus Linum, and especially L. usitatissimum. The stems are steeped in water to remove resinous matter and allow fermentation to take place. After fermentation is completed, the fibrous material is separated from the woody matter and spun into thread. The cellulose content of linen fibers ranges between 70 and 80%. The fibers, which appear flat like those of cotton, are thicker than cotton fibers, have knots and joints, as well as transverse markings and creasings, and are very tough, can be bleached white, and take dyes more readily than cotton. The chlorine test stains linen fibers a claret red. (93 , 143 )




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