History of Cashmere
It is recorded that Marco Polo discovered cave paintings in the 13th century while exploring the Mongolian Altai. These representations were apparently showing the combing and collecting of hair from domesticated goats. The highlands of Mongolia are known for their harsh winters and temperatures far below freezing, so even then, the exclusive wool of the cashmere goat was a necessity for people to survive at these altitudes.
Biblical references and Afghan historical texts mention the production of wool scarves in Kashmir and prove that the process goes back as far as the 3rd century BC.
It is thus proven that people used these fine fibers for thousands of years in Mongolia, Nepal, and Kashmir.
“Production of wool under the Name Cashmere began when Ali Hamdani fetched some fine undercoat fibers from a cashmere goat and made socks, scarves, and caps. He gave socks to the King of Kashmir and recommended that the King start making scarves from this wool.”
For use in scarves that were first produced in Kashmir, the wool fiber is also known as Pashmina (Persian for wool).
The historical origin of Pashmina lies in Srinagar, the capital of the North Indian province of Kashmir and Jammu. It is an area that is now equally claimed by India, Pakistan, and China.
Modern Day Cashmere
China is the primary producer of cashmere today. China produces raw materials of more than 10,000 tons per year. The enormous popularity and demand for cashmere remain unbroken to this day.
The most luxurious and exclusive brands always have cashmere as part of their winter fashions in their collections.
Cashmere is incredibly soft and feels wonderful on the skin thanks to the very fine hair of the cashmere goat with a diameter of fewer than 19 micrometers.
There is no season when you cannot wear your cashmere sweater. In winter, there is no better protection against the cold as cashmere is up to eight times warmer than regular wool. Cashmere is also pleasant to wear in spring. Since it is so soft that you don’t have to put another shirt under it, you don’t run the risk of it getting too hot. In summer, it is a good idea to swap your blazer for a comfortable thin cashmere jacket on chilly evenings.
There’s still no more desirable and luxurious fabric than the fiber that adopted its name from the region of Kashmir India, where the undercoat of pashmina goats was first processed into the precious wool!
John Capron installed the first power looms for woolens in North America at Uxbridge, Massachusetts, and made the first cashmere satinets in America beginning in 1820.
Power looms are mechanized looms and were one of the key developments in the industrialization of weaving. The first power loom was invented in 1785 by Edmund Cartwright.
The city of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, became an early textile center in the Blackstone Valley, known for its production of cashmere wool and satin.
Many early textile centers were developed during the American Industrial Revolution. Among them, Blackstone Valley became an important contributor.
The Austrian textile manufacturer Bernhard Altmann brought cashmere on a grand scale to the United States of America from 1947.