COWLES'S PATENT MOTH, MILDEW, AND WATERPROOFING TREATMENT AND THE U.S. ARMY, 1869–1876
Ann Cordy Deegan
8 FUTURE NEEDS
This research concentrated on data from historical documents. Questions have been raised through this research that others may wish to consider. Very little data emerged on fiber retention of solution ingredients or what may remove them. Extant Cowles's-marked garments exist in several major public and private museums in this country. Elemental analysis for copper, zinc, mercury, and aluminum should be undertaken on fiber samples from these garments with an effort to associate presence with Cowles's treatment. Consistent occurrence of the same elements may aid in developing an identification technique for unmarked but treated Cowles items. Copper was not used in indigo wool dyeing during the mid-nineteenth century. Unless the copper comes from other cleaning or finishing techniques this may provide a means for identifying Cowles's-treated wool uniforms.
The efficacy of the moth, water, and mildew-repelling power of this treatment should also be examined by application of this solution to fabric with subsequent tests for resistance to various environmental factors such as light, heat, and water along with reversibility and surface tackiness. Despite appropriation handicaps, disgruntled employees, and non-modern testing methods Cowles's process emerges with modern potential that merits our attention.
A special thank-you is extended to Margaret Vining, Specialist Historian, Division of Armed Forces History, Smithsonian Institution, for providing the Cowles's greatcoat information.