Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Where did "jeans" come from?

The word “jeans” is thought to have come from “Genoese” the name for Italian sailors of Genoa. These sailors dressed in a blue fustian fabric that was made from a cotton and wool or linen. The Genoese fabric was imported to Britain as far back as the 16th century.

“In the 19th century, American weavers made hard wearing cotton duck, denim and jeans fabrics to satisfy a home market. At some time, some manufacturers must have replaced the yarns with the locally produced, more readily available cotton making the fabrics all cotton.”

1 comment:

  1. Hey there. Just happened upon this interesting tidbit while on Interet Archive yesterday. Genoa didn't seem quite right, though there's many sources out there that will support that. What is more logical and believable, is that it was a term used by the textile trade in manufacturing. I refer you to page 81 in a 1901 manuscript from Bradford Durfee Textile School "First Year Weaving by James Holmes." It states a method for making "three end twill, 2 up and 1 down [threads/warp]." It states that "these cloths are known as 'jeans' or 'jeannettes'. Internet Archive has this text in it's entirety: "Manuscript Notes on Weaving".

    Here's the link to page 81 of James Holmes' manuscript: