The history of linen

Linen is one of the oldest or maybe even the oldest fabric in the world. We think linen’s rich history is so special that we’d like to take you back in time to discover its origins.

One of the earliest discoveries of linen was found in a prehistoric cave in Georgia. The fabrics that were found here are are least a 34,0000 years old. When agriculture started to develop, flax was cultivated here and used for clothing and other purposes on a large scale.

Egyptian man in clothing sitting near the water

Egyptian linen

The quality of linen that we are now used to has its origins in Egypt. Here, linen was used for mummification and tombs and it symbolised purity and wealth. It was so valuable that it was even used as a currency. The fact that there was linen found in Tutankhamun’s tomb proves the amazing durability of linen.

In Egypt, linen was praised for its special qualities: it is lightweight, anti-microbial, dirt-repellent and moisture-wicking. The trend was to heavily bleach the fabric. This was an intense process and linen bleaching was an actual profession at that time.

When the Romans conquered Egypt 400 BC, they too became fascinated with this strong fabric. Their taste differed though, as they preferred their linen to be dyed in the most beautiful colours, opposed to the bleached linens in Egypt. It is even believed that Alexander the Great challenged his generals to who could dye his linen in the most striking colour.

The Phoenicians eventually brought linen to Europe. Here it was produced in Ireland, France and England. It was soon discovered that Belgium had the best land and weather conditions to grow linen. To this day, the area produces the highest quality linen and this is also where we import our linen from.

Linen fabrics

The 19th century to now

Tot in de negentiende eeuw bleef het produceren van linnen handwerk. Tegenwoordig wordt er wel gebruik gemaakt van machines, maar de productie van linnen blijft een proces waar veel handmatig moet gebeuren. Linnen is in onze tijd een bijzonder product en wordt steeds populairder, onder andere door het feit dat men meer bewust wordt van hoe hij consumeert. Met linnen weet je altijd zeker dat je een kwaliteitsproduct in huis haalt en je iets koopt dat een minstens een leven lang mee gaat.

Evert Groot measuring up fabrics

Credits: Exsite Media