Fabric> Cotton Canvas
Cotton Canvas and also duck cloth, or cotton duck are terms used to describe any heavy, woven cotton fabric heavier than about 8 ounces per square yard (not linear yard). This material has been produced for thousands of years, it had been used for ship's sails earlier than the time of the Roman Empire. People often call just about any heavy duty fabric 'Canvas' but this is not accurate, the name only applies to heavy material woven from cotton fibers. Canvas Grommets are have been used for over 100 years to make strong, metal reinforced holes in canvas tarps and sails that would hold ropes and lines without ripping the material.
Before man made fibers cotton was widely used in almost every way you could imagine, in the past it was coated with rubber or varnish to make it waterproof. Until the 1940's it was even used to make the skin of airplanes by painting it with special paints that made it hard, resistant to the elements and smooth to help with air flow. In fact there are still old planes still flying today that have skins made from this material. Also, there are very few materials man made or natural that can do what cotton fiber does. Two of these abilities are, it absorbs water and liquids very well, and its softness. If absorbing water is bad for what you wanted to use the canvas for, there was also waxed canvas. Waxed canvas, is made by treating the canvas with a wax or special heavy oil helps to prevent the fabric from getting soaked with water.
Cotton is not just soft to the touch, but it also doesn't scratch delicate surfaces. For example, you can safely clean your sunglasses on a 100% cotton shirt or pants without fear of scratching the lenses. However, do the same thing with a fabric that contains even a small part of man made fibers like nylon or polyester, and you'll put tiny scratches all over the lenses, even with the lightest touch.
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