Recovering identity: the role of textual evidence in identifying forgotten azlon fibres from the mid-20th century

Brooks, Mary M. (2007) Recovering identity: the role of textual evidence in identifying forgotten azlon fibres from the mid-20th century. In, Hayward, Maria and Kramer, Elizabeth (eds.) Textiles and Text. Textiles and Text: Re-establishing the links between archival and object-based research London, UK, Archetype, 29-33.


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Text has been critical in establishing the identity of a group of largely forgotten mid-20th-century textiles, the
azlons. These fibres were developed from proteins in milk, eggs, peanuts, soya beans and corn by researchers in America,
Europe and Asia who were seeking substitutes for wool. This technological innovation was driven by concern that imminent
war meant normal supplies of wool would become unavailable. This paper describes two of the main types of textual
evidence used in developing an understanding of these fibres. The first derives from the very names of the fibres themselves
and is evident in the text which is closest to the textile – the label giving the name of the fibre. Given that so few surviving
examples of these fibres have been identified in museum collections, the second source of textual and contextual evidence is fashion and technical magazines, trade literature, business archives and patents as well as personal records and interviews.
The huge potential of these sources will be discussed. It is hoped that this review of the benefits and limitations of textual
sources will help curators and conservators identify such fibres in their collections.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: These postprints are the third in a series of three volumes of papers emanating from the conferences of the AHRC Research Centre for Textile Conservation and Textile Studies, Textile Conservation Centre, University of the Southampton, and published by Archetype Publications.
ISBNs: 9781904982265 (paperback)
Related URLs:
Keywords: azlon, regenerated protein fibers, wool, labels, branding, ardil
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Art
ePrint ID: 49650
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2007
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:33

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