History of Iron Dyeing

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History of Iron in Dyeing

a) History of the use of Iron in Dyeing

b) African Mud Cloth

a) History of the use of Iron in Dyeing

Metals are among the earliest dyes for textiles. In fact, ancient greys and blacks were almost all dyed with iron together with plant tannins. According to Liles, cottons and linens have been dyed to iron buff by placing the material in iron water springs or burying the material in wet, iron-containing mud often for a week or two.
Swiss lake dwellers houses (Andreas F. Borchert)
Examples of this technique can be seen in the textiles of the Swiss Lake Dwellers (approximately 3000 BC), Egyptians also dyed with iron liquor and the sails of many Mediterranean fishing boats were dyed buff until quite recently.

Ferrous sulphate has also been known as ‘Copperas’ since ancient times and, despite the name, has nothing to do with copper. You might also see ferrous sulphate being referred to as ‘green vitriol’ in old dye books.

b) African Mud Cloth

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Last updated on 28 August 2018
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