Every night the body come in close contact with this essential material, yet rarely have a lot of people ever heard of it: MATTRESS TICKING. The purpose of this post is to provide understanding of the rich background and the evolution of this important home textile that serves as the outer covering of every mattress made. There are numerous books on the history of textiles-but rarely does an index mentions ticking.

Having been a business purchasing manager of mattress ticking-I later became frustrated on my quest to uncover the genesis in the term and also the technical description. I contacted a professor of ventilation duct material I knew at Southern Polytechnic Institute in Marietta, Georgia; he didn’t know but provided me with the names of two retired textile history professors from Clemson. Both men explained they did not really know what original tickings were-and had never been asked! So, I’m sharing about two decades of my own research-which may prove a little technical but that is certainly my purpose.

Specialty textiles, like mattress ticking, were first engineered in Medieval Italy (1100-1400) and followed various guild prescriptions which covered the locations, loom types and mixture of materials. Mattress ticking were a good weave fustian that have a linen warp and a cotton weft. These blended yarn products were called Union Weaves later in Europe. Simple white and black stripes of plain or tabby weaves were produced in addition to four heddle twills, checks, herringbones in heavier muslins and buckrams.

Terlici were triple-twilled fabrics made with a mix of linen and hemp warp and cotton weft and were heavyweight sturdy mattress ticking. Plain, striped, and checked burdie were linen warp and cotton weft tickings. Milan offered an acordati which were single, double or triple ribbed cords mixing linen and cotton warp yarns in mixtures of twelve linen to 3 cotton or eight linen to generate a heavy grade cloth. Milan also produced banerie which were heavy 100% cotton cloths of which the steleta were graded as mattress ticking.1

Ticks/Ticking talking about the pu coated oxford fabric as a mattress of bolster casing enters English in Fabyan’s Chnonicles 1305-other sources more widespread in 1365. Various cotton cloths including ticking and the word cotton (from Arabic “qutun”) was imported into England in about 1507 because duties were quickly applied since the country made an effort to protect the domestic wool textile industry.3 “Cotton-wool” as it was described, continued to cultivate in demand regardless of British regulations to halt it. The 1660 Tonnage and Poundage Act applied 7-1/2 percent ad valorem duty on linens (including tickings) and further duties followed in order that by 1714, a good example case of 500 ells of striped broad German linen valued at 400 pounds Sterling had an additional duty of 203 pounds.4

The very first usage of cotton in Lancashire, England seems to happen to be utilized by fustian weavers in 1601 (fustians were linen and cotton mixed blends)-this cloth possibly being “domestic” ticking grade. As continues to be explained, Italian guild specialty formulas abounded. Through migration because of religious reasons, a number of weavers left Italy to settle in Germany inside the cities of Ulm and Augsburg-this new German cloth with linen warp and cotton weft known as barchent. Before the end of the 16th century these textile producers were in Nurnburg, Hof, Zwickau, Leipzig, and Chemintz and Germany advanced ahead of all European countries in cotton manufacture.

In 1561, England allowed a mass migration of 406 persons from Flanders Nevertheless the outbreak of the Thirty Years War, that cotton product had all but ceased. However, over the course of decades, many textile craftsmen proficient in cotton had settled in England and also by mid-1700s a large number of home shops were producing goods including ticking and raw cotton imports had jxtjsh from 1,545,472 million pounds in 1730 to 3,870,392 pounds in 1764. After Richard Arkwright kicked from the Industrial Revolution together with his Spinning Jenny and Water-frame, the quantity of cotton imports in 1780 was 32 million pounds.6

British trade cards mention ticking as being a product on the market. In 1750, William Witton of Southwark mentions Flanders & English Ticking on the market; Nathaniel Hewitt of Southwark also mentions Flanders & English Ticking accessible in 1768. Between 1770-1820 Arkwright’s innovation made a textile giant in Manchester, England. By 1813, Boston Manufacturing Company became the largest textile producer in america. Amoskeag Mills was made in Manchester, New Hampshire on the Merrimack River and also by mid-1850 the mighty factory had 24,000 looms and 662, 000 spindles in a complex of over 5 million sq ft. Amoskeag Mills, which held the title from the World’s Largest Textile Mill up to 1910, introduced what is probably the world’s most widely used mattress ticking: the ACA Stripe. This oxford mattress cover was based off ancient Italian style of a thin and thick alternative stripe of black or deep blue color- but was manufactured with 100% cotton. ACA was probably the most desired for quality bedding and mattresses.

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