【History of Canvas】Part2 How the Canvas Was Born

 

During the Edo era, sailing boat was to move forward by receiving the wind and being pushed from behind was the mainstream way to sail. At this time, the sail changed from bundle of straws to cotton cloths. However, the cotton cloth was still weak, so they doubled the cloth to double its strength, and sewed 3 of that together resulted this canvas as the “sail”.

This canvas was better than the one before, but it easily tore apart and became heavy as it absorbed water. Matsuemon challenged himself to improving the canvas sail. He thought of making one durable canvas cloth instead of having to have to stick 2, 3 together. Using Banshu’s specialty cotton, he planned to make a thick yarn and weave that. However, it was not easy to make a thick thread and weave it, as a loom to manage that was necessary. After the many uphill struggle, he finally succeeded in making the cloth.

Using this cloth as the sail, Matsuemon carried out experiments. The sail was strong enough to wrap the wind and move the ship forward, drained water well as well. The development of improving the sail was a success. This cloth was named and sold as "weaving sail canvas" against the previous "sashiho".

This new creation was able to run ship faster in speed than before, with strength. It greatly contributed to shortening the time of the voyage at that time. In addition, fixing and re applying the sail lessened and shortage in labor.


In order to produce this canvas, there had to be a factory. Matsuemon did not have enough fund but with Kita household’s aid,  factories and shops were built in the center of Hyogo, and production of canvas finally began.

 

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