Duncan Ticking – Common Questions..

Every night our bodies can be found in close contact with this essential material, yet rarely have many people ever heard of it: MATTRESS TICKING. The goal of this information is to provide understanding of the rich background and the evolution of this important home textile that may serve as the outer covering of every mattress made. There are lots of books on the history of textiles-but rarely does an index mentions ticking.

Having been a company purchasing manager of mattress ticking-I later became frustrated in my quest to discover the genesis in the term as well as the technical description. I contacted a professor of tunnel fabric 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 failed to understand what original tickings were-along with never been asked! So, I’m sharing about two decades of my own research-which may prove a bit technical but that is certainly 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 black and white stripes of plain or tabby weaves were produced along with four heddle twills, checks, herringbones in heavier muslins and buckrams.

Terlici were triple-twilled fabrics made with a mixture 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 produce a heavy grade cloth. Milan also produced banerie which were heavy 100% cotton cloths in which the steleta were graded as mattress ticking.1

Ticks/Ticking discussing the oxford fabric as a mattress of bolster casing enters English in Fabyan’s Chnonicles 1305-other sources more prevalent in 1365. Various cotton cloths including ticking and also the word cotton (from Arabic “qutun”) was imported into England in about 1507 because duties were quickly applied since the country made an effort to protect the domestic wool textile industry.3 “Cotton-wool” because it was referred to, continued to cultivate 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 extra duties followed so that by 1714, an illustration case of 500 ells of striped broad German linen worth 400 pounds Sterling had an extra duty of 203 pounds.4

The initial usage of cotton in Lancashire, England generally seems to have been utilized by fustian weavers in 1601 (fustians were linen and cotton mixed blends)-this cloth possibly being “domestic” ticking grade. As has become explained, Italian guild specialty formulas abounded. Through migration due to religious reasons, several 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. Prior to the end of the 16th century these textile producers were in Nurnburg, Hof, Zwickau, Leipzig, and Chemintz and Germany advanced ahead of all European countries in cotton manufacture.

In 1561, England allowed a mass migration of 406 persons from Flanders But the outbreak from 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 through mid-1700s 1000s 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 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 a product on the market. In 1750, William Witton of Southwark mentions Flanders & English Ticking for sale; Nathaniel Hewitt of Southwark also mentions Flanders & English Ticking easily obtainable 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 created in Manchester, New Hampshire on the Merrimack River and through mid-1850 the mighty factory had 24,000 looms and 662, 000 spindles in a complex of more than 5 million sq . ft .. Amoskeag Mills, which held the title in the World’s Largest Textile Mill until 1910, introduced what is one of the world’s most popular mattress ticking: the ACA Stripe. This mattress ticking fabric was based off ancient Italian design of a thin and thick alternative stripe of black or dark blue color- but was manufactured with 100% cotton. ACA was the most desired for quality bedding and mattresses.