Every night our bodies come in close contact with this essential material, yet rarely have a lot of people ever been aware of it: MATTRESS TICKING. The goal of this post is to offer advice about the rich background and the evolution of this important home textile that serves as the outer covering of each and every mattress made. There are lots of books on the history of textiles-but rarely does an index mentions ticking.
Having been a business purchasing manager of mattress ticking-I later became frustrated on my own quest to uncover the genesis from the term and also the technical description. I contacted a professor of ventilation duct material I knew at Southern Polytechnic Institute in Marietta, Georgia; he didn’t know but provided the names of two retired textile history professors from Clemson. Both men told me they did not really know what original tickings were-and had never been asked! So, I’m sharing about two decades of my own research-which might prove somewhat technical but which is my purpose.
Specialty textiles, including mattress ticking, were first engineered in Medieval Italy (1100-1400) and followed various guild prescriptions which covered the locations, loom types and blend of materials. Mattress ticking were a tight weave fustian that have a linen warp as well as a cotton weft. These blended yarn products were called Union Weaves later in Europe. Simple white and black stripes of plain or tabby weaves were produced together with four heddle twills, checks, herringbones in heavier muslins and buckrams.
Terlici were triple-twilled fabrics created using a combination of linen and hemp warp and cotton weft and were heavyweight sturdy mattress ticking. Plain, striped, and checked burdie were linen warp and cotton weft tickings. Milan offered an acordati which were single, double or triple ribbed cords mixing linen and cotton warp yarns in mixtures of twelve linen to 3 cotton or eight linen to generate a heavy grade cloth. Milan also produced banerie which were heavy 100% cotton cloths which the steleta were graded as mattress ticking.1
Ticks/Ticking discussing the pu coated oxford fabric as being a mattress of bolster casing enters English in Fabyan’s Chnonicles 1305-other sources more common in 1365. Various cotton cloths including ticking as well as the word cotton (from Arabic “qutun”) was imported into England in approximately 1507 because duties were quickly applied as the country made an effort to protect the domestic wool textile industry.3 “Cotton-wool” because it was described, continued to grow sought after regardless of British regulations to halt it. The 1660 Tonnage and Poundage Act applied 7-1/2 percent ad valorem duty on linens (including tickings) and additional duties followed in order that by 1714, an illustration case of 500 ells of striped broad German linen priced at 400 pounds Sterling had an additional duty of 203 pounds.4
The first usage of cotton in Lancashire, England appears to have already been used by fustian weavers in 1601 (fustians were linen and cotton mixed blends)-this cloth possibly being “domestic” ticking grade. As has been explained, Italian guild specialty formulas abounded. Through migration as a result of religious reasons, numerous weavers left Italy to settle in Germany inside the cities of Ulm and Augsburg-this new German cloth with linen warp and cotton weft known as barchent. Ahead of the end from the 16th century these textile producers were in Nurnburg, Hof, Zwickau, Leipzig, and Chemintz and Germany advanced ahead of all Countries in europe in cotton manufacture.
In 1561, England allowed a mass migration of 406 persons from Flanders But the outbreak of the Thirty Years War, that cotton product had all but ceased. However, throughout decades, many textile craftsmen proficient in cotton had settled in England and also by mid-1700s a large number of home shops were producing goods including ticking and raw cotton imports had jxtjsh from 1,545,472 million pounds in 1730 to 3,870,392 pounds in 1764. After Richard Arkwright kicked off of the Industrial Revolution along with his Spinning Jenny and Water-frame, the quantity of cotton imports in 1780 was 32 million pounds.6
British trade cards mention ticking as being a product for sale. In 1750, William Witton of Southwark mentions Flanders & English Ticking for sale; Nathaniel Hewitt of Southwark also mentions Flanders & English Ticking for sale in 1768. Between 1770-1820 Arkwright’s innovation developed a textile giant in Manchester, England. By 1813, Boston Manufacturing Company took over as the largest textile producer in the usa. Amoskeag Mills was developed in Manchester, New Hampshire on the Merrimack River and by mid-1850 the mighty factory had 24,000 looms and 662, 000 spindles in a complex of over 5 million sq . ft .. Amoskeag Mills, which held the title in the World’s Largest Textile Mill up until 1910, introduced what is one of the world’s most favored mattress ticking: the ACA Stripe. This duncan ticking was based off ancient Italian design of a thin and thick alternative stripe of black or deep blue color- but was manufactured with 100% cotton. ACA was probably the most desired for quality bedding and mattresses.