When was wool discovered?
There are mentions of wool in Genesis, so there is no definitive
date for this product. The first mentions of wool are probably in
Sumerian cuneform where it was a commodity. Since those tablets are
over 4,000 years old, it's a good bet that we cannot find a proper
An interesting sidenote...when the English "discovered" Egypt,
they found the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. What they found was
cotton, but they could not conceive of a plant that produced
wearable material. Wool was THE material of clothing, so the legend
of the vegetable Lamb was born.
When Ogg the Cold figured out that he didn't need to wear the
whole sheep skin, just the fuzz.
In the misty dawn of time, Ogg had been wearing the whole sheep
skin, but other than keeping his skin baby smooth, he wasn't really
impressed with wearing a skin other than his own. After all it was
heavy, smelled very bad and was rather short! Ogg was not an
especially tall man, but the sheep skin was rather less than
adequate for total coverage. Ogg did like the warmth and light
weight of the fluff on the other side of the skin, but the problem
of the length had to be solved.
One day he noticed that the fuzz of the skin came out of the
sheepskin fairly easily and it was rather stretchy. He gathered the
fuzz off the skin and pulled it apart and discovered that it would
twist together without making a knot in the end. This was an
interesting development, so he spent the afternoon twisting the
bits of the stretchy fiber together. At the end of the experiment,
he had a long, looong piece of wool string. Now this was a fun
thing to have but of no apparent use at the moment. Gathering his
string together, he headed back to camp.
Unfortunately on the way, he waded through a stream and while
trying to keep his balance, he dropped all his nice new string in
the stream. While he retrieved the wool, it was a wet and dripping
mess. Sighing, he squeezed out some of the water and brought the
sodden mass back to the tribal clearing.
Dropping the mess on a used skin by the fire, he explained to
his mate, the intrepid Rhonda that he had been experimenting again.
Rhonda looked at his skimpier than usual sheep skin and sighed.
While the animals did make good eating, the skins were
supposed to be fluffy and Ogg's sheepskin was rather lighter
than normal. But Ogg generally had good ideas, so she studied the
wet mess on the used skin.
It was then that Rhonda had the bright idea to dry out the mess
on the yron rock which she had just taken from the fire. Ogg could
then have his string to play with, and she could wander the
countryside looking for new land features. She slapped the wet wool
on the yron and vigorously started pounding another rock on top of
the wool to press the water out of it. Steam started to rise from
the mass and Rhonda was very satisfied with her initiative.
But a very strange thing started to happen. The mass, while
steaming, started to glob together and the more that Rhonda
pounded, the firmer the mass became. In a very few minutes, the
wool string was indistinguishable as string, and there was a very
solid piece of something on the yron! Giving it up as a bad
job and waste of time, Rhonda threw the thing off to the side of
the clearing in disgust. They went off to sleep without a second
thought to the strange mess on the side of the fire. The strange
mass landed on a pile of rocks and continued to cool and dry.
The next morning, Ogg leisurely lifted the flat piece of messed
up wool and to his surprise, it was strong, tough, and very light.
Ogg had the bright idea of putting it on his head as it was rather
circular and to his surprise, it kept the sun off his head and out
of his eyes! This was a momentous discovery! His friend Gronk had
eye problems, and this new discovery would help with the problem of
squinting to see.
So thus was born the felted fedora, and a whole new enterprise
sprang up. The men (for a change) demanded this strong light head
covering and were willing to trade for them.
Rhonda looked at the head covering with amusement, but then an
idea slowly began to percolate up through her consciousness. If
this thing was so easy to make, just being a matter of smacking the
wet fuzz with a rock, how big could the thing be made? She went out
after breakfast (grape juice and yeggs) and found one of the short
plump animals to irritate. Gathering a very large quantity of the
wool off the surrounding bushes and from the animals themselves,
she sauntered back to camp to experiment for herself.
Remembering the technique that was used the night before, she
carefully heated an yron rock and wet the wool in a pot of beetroot
boiling near the fire. But this time she spread the wool over a
fairly large piece of flat wood and started pounding the wool with
the yron (thereby inventing the process which would later be known
as "ironing"...a curse which would not be aleviated until the 20th
century.) This resulted in a large piece of fairly flat, damp red
wool felt that could be cut! Congratulating herself for an
independent invention, she patiently waited for the wool to cool
and dry. And the next day, she threaded some strips of hide through
holes in now dry wool felt and thereby cured the problem of Ogg's
short (and now rather naked) sheep skin. Tailored clothing had been
invented. Ogg now had a crude extension under his sheep skin, and
the new red shorts didn't impede his walking. Plus the hide strings
were adjustable so that he didn't soil them when he needed to
Together Rhonda and Ogg had become the first fashion designers
in history. They celebrated with the tribe by hosting a barbecue of
a fairly well plucked sheep. This day in history, the 8th day of
the month of Graf, was officially declared "fashion day". That is
the day that wool was invented. So even now we remember that day
with graphic designs of "new" clothing and I even suspect that
fashion week began as part of that anniversary, although the link
has not been thoroughly investigated.