The New Student's Reference Work/Calico

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Cal′ico, a white cotton cloth, received its name from Calicut, a seaport on the west coast of India, whence it was first imported to Europe. The word calico has come to be used to include colored cotton cloths, which are not sufficiently fine to be classed with muslins. Calico-printing or the art of printing colored patterns upon cloth is a process not limited to cotton cloths. It is applied also to woolen, worsted, silk and linen fabrics. This process was known in Egypt in the first century; and in India perhaps at an earlier date. Although calico-printing was not practiced in Europe until the 17th century, the chief center of the industry now is Lancaster, England. The older form of calico-printing was by means of wooden blocks pressed upon the cloth by hand. At present engraved cylinders of copper are used, upon which the cloth is made by machinery to revolve rapidly. It is possible to print in several colors from the same cylinder and at the same time. The manufacture of cotton-goods is a rising industry in the south of the United States, where 1,000,000 bales of cotton are now annually woven into cloth.