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The History of Waxed Cotton Country Clothing

Posted by Bethan Bithell on 21st Aug 2016

Customers often ask about the history of waxed country clothing. This seems to be an area of great interest!

Hoggs wax jacketIt appears that the process of 'waxing' can be traced back to the 15th century! The sails of clipper ships were oiled with wax as a means of protection from severe stormy weather conditions.

British Millerain indicates that during the early 19th century, sailors applied linseed oil to their clothing. This was often clothing produced by hand, from the remains of damaged sails. Once applied, the linseed oil would penetrate the clothing, in turn waterproofing the items. This was of great support to sailors battling the elements up 'on deck' in the harshest of weather conditions.

The British Millerain

Interestingly, British Millerain began developing waxed materials at the end of the 1880s. The intention was to supply the military and country pursuits markets. Consequently, a material called Millerian was patented by British Millerain during 1894. The first factory opened in Halifax in Yorkshire but the organisation relocated to Whitworth in Lancashire in 1922. Today, British Millerain remains the leading manufacturer of waxed cotton material.

The process of 'waxing' clothes is undertaken to make them water resistant. For obvious reasons, this is ideal when manufacturing waxed country clothing. Wax is an organic compound and can, for example, be produced from linseeds. The linseeds are 'ground down' and then made into a paste, producing a superb coating for outdoor clothing.

Waxed Country Clothing

Seemingly, the process of waxing country clothing has been developed over many years. Perhaps much of this success can be attributed to the efforts of sailors from many years ago! Deeper investigation is bound to uncover additional information about the origins of waxed clothing. Any contributions from customers will be very much welcomed and will be incorporated into future articles.

Meanwhile, British Millerain continues to go from strength to strength. In 2014, it invested approximately £500,000 in new digital printing machinery!

We can rest assured that waxed country clothing is going to be around for quite some time yet!

Foot note:

Please do be very careful when cleaning any of your waxed country clothing items. Please remember that it's always very important to refer to the manufacturers instructions!

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