The History of Jute

The heart of the Jute trade is in Bangladesh and West Bengal, due to its naturally fertile soil. In the mid-1500s to early 1600s, the poor rural people of India handmade their jutjutee clothing, rope, twine, and macramé hangers. Chinese papermakers selected plants like hemp, silk, jute, and cotton for papermaking. Flax and hemp were preferred in the spinning industries in Europe and America until jute was taken to Europe by the Dutch and Fre nch and then on to Britain by the East India Company.

By the 1790s, a larger business was developing in the Scottish city of Dundee. Jute was difficult to process mechanically until a revolutionary process for batching it with whale oil and water along with a modified spinning machine for flax and jute was developed.

Mr. George Auckland, a coffee planter, built the first power-driven spinning machines in Bengal on the bank of the Hooghly river near Calcutta in 1855 at the Wellington Jute Mills. The opening of nearby coal mines in 1854 created the necessary power for the machinery. Other jute mills followed on the Hooghly river and it became the biggest jute manufacturing center in the world; able to produce faster and cheaper with new technology.

Largely due to political unrest and war, Russian production of raw flax and hemp to Dundee slowed and jute became the alternative. British Jute Barons in Bengal overtook the Scottish jute trade then and it became an integral part of the Bengali culture and economy.

Jute sandbags and sacks were exported from Bengal globally to protect soldiers in trenches and carry food grains during World Wars I and II. After the wars, jute trade continued with traditional uses in packaging and carpet backing in larger volumes. It was used to bag cotton and coffee, for fishing, construction, art, and arms industries.

After 1960, raw jute and jute product demand reached its highest point and suppliers from Bengal couldn’t meet the need. Synthetics like nylon and polyethylene took over and the industry declined. In the 1970s, many jute mills were seized by the government to eventually create the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation.

By the 1980s, farmers in Bangladesh burned unsold crops but maintained smaller local supplies. Many jute exporters began to diversify. The largest jute mill in the world, Adamjee Jute Mills, closed in Bangladesh and the second largest mill, Latif Bawany Jute Mills, was taken over by the government.history-of-jute

Since 2004, the jute market has recovered and pricing of raw jute increased over 500 percent. Jute has various uses as natural fibers are determined to be more environmentally safe than the substitutes and certain technology advancements have made them desirable in new industries such as non-woven textiles, composite wood materials, and geotextiles.

Nearly 75 percent of jute goods are used as packaging materials, burlap, gunny fabric, and various bags. Carpet backing is about 15 percent, and the rest are yarns, cording, felts, padding, twine, ropes, decorative cloth, and heavy duty industrial items.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 at 11:07 am and is filed under Arts and Crafts, Burlap, Grain and Feed Bags, Industrial Packaging, Jute, Nursery Supplies, Sandbags.

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