Every night our bodies are available in close contact with this essential material, yet rarely have most people ever heard about it: MATTRESS TICKING. The objective of this information is to provide insight into the rich history 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 company purchasing manager of mattress ticking-I later became frustrated on my quest to discover the genesis in the term as well as the technical description. I contacted a professor of air duct material I knew at Southern Polytechnic Institute in Marietta, Georgia; he didn’t know but provided me with the names of two retired textile history professors from Clemson. Both men explained they did not really know what original tickings were-and had never been asked! So, I’m sharing about twenty years of my very own research-which may prove a little technical but that is certainly my purpose.
Specialty textiles, such as mattress ticking, were first engineered in Medieval Italy (1100-1400) and followed various guild prescriptions which covered the locations, loom types and mixture of materials. Mattress ticking were a good weave fustian that have a linen warp along with 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 mix 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 that had been 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 that had been heavy 100% cotton cloths in which the steleta were graded as mattress ticking.1
Ticks/Ticking talking about the oxford fabric 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 since the country tried to protect the domestic wool textile industry.3 “Cotton-wool” as 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 extra duties followed so that by 1714, an example case of 500 ells of striped broad German linen priced at 400 pounds Sterling had an additional duty of 203 pounds.4
The initial utilization of cotton in Lancashire, England 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 been explained, Italian guild specialty formulas abounded. Through migration because of religious reasons, several weavers left Italy to settle in Germany within the cities of Ulm and Augsburg-this new German cloth with linen warp and cotton weft called barchent. Before the end in the 16th century these textile producers were in Nurnburg, Hof, Zwickau, Leipzig, and Chemintz and Germany advanced before all European countries in cotton manufacture.
In 1561, England allowed a mass migration of 406 persons from Flanders However the outbreak from the Thirty Years War, that cotton product had all but ceased. However, during the period of decades, many textile craftsmen experienced in cotton had settled in England and by mid-1700s thousands 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 being a product available for sale. 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 became the largest textile producer in america. 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 over 5 million sq . ft .. Amoskeag Mills, which held the title of The World’s Largest Textile Mill until 1910, introduced what is probably the world’s most favored mattress ticking: the ACA Stripe. This oxford mattress cover 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 by far the most desired for quality bedding and mattresses.