Polarized Light Microscopy Digital Image Gallery

Silver Cotton Fibers

Cotton is a seed-hair fiber that is derived from several different plants in the genus Gossypium of the family Malvaceae, which grow best in warm climates. Evidence indicates that these plants, which are native to most subtropical regions, were grown and harvested for their fiber well before any written records of human activity were produced. In fact, it is believed that as early as 3,000 BC inhabitants of India were taking advantage of the highly useful cotton plants and their fibers. Since such early efforts in the industry, the development of innumerable technological advances has made cotton production a much faster and more economical undertaking. Perhaps the most important of these advances was the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, which provided a mechanical means of separating seeds from the cotton fibers and helped the British cotton industry surpass the wool and flax industries in output and economic importance.

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