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The Displacement of Hemp in History

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Sensi Grower
Sensi Grower

Joined: 28 August 2005
Location: American Samoa
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  Quote NORML4Cali Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Displacement of Hemp in History
    Posted: 29 August 2005 at 09:09

Recently having found out about the microscopic analysis of textiles in American history.

The Smithonian let some good 1s go however. Like that fact that the rope holding George Washingtons first banner to its staff, was 100% hemp. Tickles me to no end.

However throught history the classification of fibers used in textiles has been either overlooked due to researchers not looking closer, on just listed as what pleases the Goverment. More monies.

Last night watching PBS Antiques Roadshow I couldn not take it any longer. Upon hearing the appraisel of an early 19th century gown. To Quote the expert  "Cotton was not a largely used material in the period. Its was too expensive, to hard to keep clean, and wore out to quickly." contrary to popular belief. Oye will they never learn?

The terms of fabrics are a key spot. "Homespun" broadcloth, and linen are a few that get often get mistermed.  Sorry but by my research there is not a "Linen" plant. There is however alot of materials making up linen and hundreds of other cloths today and throughout history. What they mean to say is hemp fibers.

Critics say too rough is hemp to be used as cloth. I point out United States Congress in the library there is always evidence of a hemp patent on their adgenda. With proof of the fineness of the cloth that can be made. Thomas Jefferson produced enough cloth to clothe his plantation. I'd say due to the wealth of evidence it is been proven. Live with it.

Here are the studies and evidence in determination of fibers. Look close at these slides. I know unless I looked closer or followed the recomended procedures stated here. I would classify alot of fibers very wrongly myself.


For more information on "whats what" in fiber analysis: here is your site.







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Sensi Advanced Grower
Sensi Advanced Grower

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  Quote seeroseero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 September 2005 at 15:17

'The Great Cotton Rag Myth' is a great story!

I posted a copy of you link below for easy access.

by Ellen McCrady

Most people believe that the incredibly sound, white paper in early books was made from cotton rags, or cotton and linen rags. Dard Hunter himself never questioned this myth, but perpetuated it in his books, saying that early European paper was made of cotton and linen rags (Hunter, 1974).

Cotton was the main fiber used for printing and writing paper in the US. for about 80 years, until 1870, but its day in the sun was comparatively brief, compared to hemp, linen rags and even wood. And it was not used in early European papers before the Industrial Revolution.

The reason I call this belief in cotton as an archetypal fiber a myth is that 1) it is put forth as a factual statement, 2) it is transmitted from one person to the next by word of mouth or in popular literature, 3) it is not based upon serious professional research, and 4) it explains the origin of something important and common in our culture, as myths have always done.

It is also very old, and it survives all attempts to disprove it. One such attempt was made by C.M. Briquet, a leading authority on handmade paper and a great collector and student of watermarks. His work is described by Allan H. Stevenson, who says (1955), "Briquet's most revolutionary exploit was his rejection and disproof of the old, old theory that early paper had been made of cotton. [At that time, about 1880] the standard opinion was, and long had been, that the earliest European paper and also Arabian paper had been made from cotton fibers....

"Briquet was troubled, however, by the difficulty of ascertaining the time and place of the change-over from cotton to linen rags as the material for paper. And from very early he was puzzled by the difficulty that scholars had had in distinguishing between the two sorts of paper, and by their frequent disagreement as to which was which.... Then came the light. Despite such honored phrases as charta bombycina, charta cuttunea, papier de coton, there was (probably) no such thing as cotton paper! ... On 29 October 1884, Briquet announced his new hypothesis. Under a powerful microscope he and Professor J. Brun had painstakingly examined samples of papers from 14 of the earliest manuscripts on paper in Europe. None of them contained the ribbon-like fibers of cotton, all of them contained only the cylindrical fibers of hemp and/or linen....

"In 1886... he was able to report on microscopic analyses of no fewer than 122 manuscripts owned by archives and libraries of Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, England, and ranging in date from 960 to the 18th century for Arabian paper and through the 13th and 14th centuries for European paper. Every single manuscript proved to be made up of hemp or linen fibers, or a mixture of these...... Stevenson guessed that these papers had been described as cotton papers from their white appearance, since they were sized with starch rather than gelatin.

In 1886, Julius Wiesner, a contemporary of Briquet's who specialized in identifying paper fibers, said of certain ancient documents from el-Faijûm, Egypt, housed in the Austrian Museum, that "according to opinions prevailing today, one would tend to think of papers of this antiquity [perhaps as early as the 8th or 9th century] as having been produced from cotton." He did not agree with the prevailing opinion. His analysis showed that none of these Egyptian documents contained cotton. They were made mainly from linen rags, and were sized with paste (Wiesner, 1887).

Paper (or proto-paper) came on the historical scene a few centuries before Christ, and so did the cotton plant, in several regions around the world (Donnell, 1872). But cotton is found in early papers only as a contaminant. Stevenson (p. xxii) looked for an explanation for what seemed to be the avoidance of an obvious fiber source, and speculated that cotton was too hard to macerate until the hollander came into use sometime before 1682. He does not say, however, whether any paper was made of cotton between 1682 and the late 18th century. When he was writing, the focus of attention was still on Arab paper and the first two centuries of European paper production.

The transition from linen to cotton was probably different in every country, but it may have taken place first in England simply because that is where the Industrial Revolution began. It had an overwhelming effect on the textile industry, which was the source of fiber for the paper industry.

The machines that powered the growth of the textile industry were invented between 1733 and 1793, but did not come into wide use until several years after their invention. (The best-known obstacle to their acceptance was opposition from the workers--Luddites--who feared for their jobs, but there were other obstacles too. Some inventions, like Watt's steam engine, were not used widely until 10 or 20 years after they were patented because of the need for extensive development.) The machines included:

1733 - Flying shuttle
1764 - Spinning jenny
1769 - Steam engine
1784 - Spinning mule
1785 - Power loom
1793 - Cotton gin

England's textile industry had traditionally relied on wool, linen, cotton and silk for its fiber, but after 1780 its use of cotton (half of which came from America) increased exponentially, and must soon have outdistanced all other fibers. England imported twice as much cotton in 1785 as it did in 1780, three times as much in 1789 as in 1785, and so on. The imported fiber first went into textiles, which after five or ten years were turned over to the ragpicker, who took them to the paper mill. So we would not be far off if we said that cotton began to be the dominant fiber in English papermaking sometime after 1790. It held first place for about 80 years, until 1870, in book papers at any rate, when the use of wood fiber became common (Barrow Laboratory, 1974).

Cotton linters were first used in commercial papermaking in the early 1940s. Cotton rags are still used, though they are "post-industrial" rags now rather than the traditional "post-consumer" rags.


W.J. Barrow Research Laboratory. Physical and Chemical Properties of Book Papers, 1507-1949. (Permanence/Durability of the Book, VII) Richmond, 1974. Table 3.

Donnell, E.J., Chronological and Statistical History of Cotton. 1872. Donnell says that the first mention of cotton by a European writer was in 450 BC, by Herodotus.

Hunter, Dard. Papermaking. New York, Dover, 1974. pp. 62, 309,311.

Stevenson, Allan H. "Briquet and the Future of Paper Studies." In Monumenta Chartae Papyraceae Historiam Illustrantia. Vol. IV: Briquet's Opuscula. Hilversum, Holland, Paper Publications Society, 1955.

Wiesner, Julius, "Mikroskopische Untersuchung der Papiere von El-Faijûm " (Microscopic Examination of the Faijûm Papers). Originally published in Mittheilungen aus der Sammlung der Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer, Wien, 1887. Translated into English by Gudrun Aurand. Edited, with an introduction by Jack C. Thompson. Caber Press, 7549 N. Fenwick, Portland, OR 97217, January 1986. 13 pp.

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Sensi Seedling
Sensi Seedling

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  Quote delta12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 November 2005 at 20:08
Only in America! can a government prohibit a farm crop in 1937 only to allow its production during WWII, then, again, ban the product after the war.

We've been told that ethynol from corn is too expensive. Has anyone got cost information on producing ethynol from hemp? Also, what other products could be made from the remainder of the plant not used for ethynol?
make hemp production legal in the USA, drop seeds not bombs
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Sensi Advanced Grower
Sensi Advanced Grower

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  Quote seeroseero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 January 2006 at 11:21
The US hemp industry’s three-year battle with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ended early this month when a federal court in San Francisco delivered a final blow to the government, ordered it to pay $21,265 in legal expenses to Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. The California-based company has used hemp oil -- an extract from a plant similar to that which produces the drug marijuana -- in its soap products since 1998, and has largely financed a fight by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) to overturn DEA efforts to ban the sale of foods containing hemp byproducts.

The US hemp industry’s three-year battle with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ended early this month when a federal court in San Francisco delivered a final blow to the government, ordered it to pay $21,265 in legal expenses to Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. The California-based company has used hemp oil -- an extract from a plant similar to that which produces the drug marijuana -- in its soap products since 1998, and has largely financed a fight by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) to overturn DEA efforts to ban the sale of foods containing hemp byproducts.
The ruling came about a year after the same court found that the DEA does not have jurisdiction to regulate products made from hemp, and it affirmed the hemp industry’s argument that the position held by the DEA on hemp products was never justified. The ruling awarded reimbursement of partial legal fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, which allows for awards to litigants when they prevail over the government when the government’s position is deemed not to have been "substantially justified."

"It’s a sweet victory and certainly an embarrassment to the DEA," said David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, in an interview with The NewStandard. "It proves that the DEA’s attempt to ban hemp never had any legal merit."

Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, an advocacy body for the US hemp industry, said, "The court ruled that the DEA had overstepped its authority, and its decision reaffirms the legal status of hemp as a food ingredient."

The 9th Circuit ruled in February 2004 that the DEA had ignored Congress’s exemption to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), which specifically excludes hemp seed, fiber and oil from government regulation, and agreed with the HIA that hemp seeds contain just minor traces of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana -- much like poppy seeds contain insignificant amounts of opiates.

"Nobody has ever been able to block the DEA in court from interpreting the law the way it wanted," said Adam Eidinger, Vote Hemp’s communications director. "The court decision was three-to-zero, and even the Reagan appointee on the court agreed with us. It was a reality check for the DEA."

The DEA’s war on hemp began in 2001 when it claimed jurisdiction over hemp products under the controlled substance statutes. Because hemp contained THC, the DEA said it had the right to regulate hemp products. The move generated a large public outcry, and in 2002, 25 members of Congress wrote a letter to the DEA telling the agency that its interpretive rule attempting to ban edible hemp seed or oil products containing any THC was "overly restrictive."

For its part, the HIA, a trade group representing the interests of hemp businesses and working to encourage research and development of new hemp products, fought back aggressively. It held two so-called "DEA Hemp Food Taste Tests," one in September 2001 and the other in April 2002, the day the DEA’s rule on hemp was to take effect. The association gave away free hemp food products -- margarine, energy bars and pretzels, for example -- at DEA offices located in 65 US cities.
"I figured out a way to get a list of the DEA office locations nationwide," Bronner confided. "It wasn’t easy because the locations are classified and the offices operate very secretively. We put a notice on the Internet and made many phone calls asking activists around the country to help us give away hemp food. Then we called the media and asked them to cover what we were doing. We were trying to show that hemp products should be legal. If the DEA wanted to arrest us, so be it. We got tremendous press coverage."

The DEA’s arbitrary interpretation of the CSA, however, was shot down in federal court, first in March 2002, when the court granted a temporary restraining order over DEA action on its ruling, and then when the 9th Circuit granted a permanent injunction.

But the battle with the DEA put tremendous strain on the hemp industry, which devoted resources, as well as time and energy, to the legal fight. The HIA spent nearly $200,000 on the legal battle, Bronner revealed. "There was no guarantee of winning in court, and many stores began taking hemp products off the shelves, lest it appear that they were selling illegal drugs," he said. "Many companies in our industry faced the real possibly that they would go out of business."

"We wasted three years in court," added Johanna Schultz, the Albion, California-based public relations director of the Hemp Industries Association. "It’s time we could have spent growing our industry."

In making its case to ban hemp, the DEA claimed that the use of hemp products could cause a false positive reading on drug tests. Hemp activists maintain that companies in the hemp industry voluntarily observe reasonable THC limits similar to those observed by hemp businesses in Canada and European countries, and that these limits protect consumers with a wide margin of safety from workplace drug testing interference.

Manufacturers of hemp nut and oil products in North America also participate in a TestPledge program, hemp activists pointed out. Manufacturers pledge to hold the THC in hemp nut and oil at levels that render failing a drug test extremely unlikely, even when a person consumes large amounts of those products on a daily basis.

As for personal care products made with hemp seed oil, Eidinger said, "In recent years, a handful of people have alleged that they failed workplace drug tests because of using hemp oil products on the skin. Such allegations were routinely proven false, and there has yet to be a case in which someone was excused [from work] due to the use of hemp oil personal care products."

Additionally, the hemp industry trumpets the nutritional value of the plant, parts of which are high in protein, vitamins and essential fats.

On July 2, 2004, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the DEA’s petition for a re-hearing of the case. The DEA had the option of appealing the decision to the US Supreme Court, but the allotted time for an appeal expired on September 28, 2004. "There is no turning back," Steenstra said. "The court decision is now the law of the land, which makes it difficult for the DEA to try a new tactic to ban hemp."

The hemp industry is excited about the future now that the DEA-generated cloud hanging over its head has been removed. "We can now focus on developing programs that educate consumers about hemp and work towards legalizing the production of industrial hemp in this country," Schultz said.

In a press release, the HIA noted: "The recently revived global hemp market is a tremendous commercial success. Unfortunately, due to drug war paranoia, the DEA confuses non-psychoactive industrial hemp varieties of cannabis with psychoactive varieties, and the US is the only major industrialized nation to prohibit the growing of industrialized hemp."

The HIA has been lobbying members of the House and Senate agricultural committees to change the situation and is working with Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) to draft an industrial hemp bill. The HIA’s goal is to see the bill introduced into the current congressional session. "We want American farmers to have the opportunity to grow industrial hemp without being harassed by the DEA," Eidinger said.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps will give some of the money it is awarded from the DEA to this legislative effort. The rest will be used to help finance industrial hemp studies in Canada. "A lot of big corporate players are interested in launching hemp products, but were reluctant to do so because of the DEA ruling," Bronner revealed. "The court ruling is going to really open up the hemp market."
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