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The Story of Abaca: Manila Hemp's Transformation from Textile to Maritime Cordage and Specialty Paper

The Story of Abaca: Manila Hemp's Transformation from Textile to Maritime Cordage and Specialty Paper

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Written by Elizabeth Potter Sievert

The Story of Abaca is a human story told through the experiences of farmers, traders, and entrepreneurs who cultivate, market, manufacture, and promote the Philippine abaca industry. Often called manila hemp, abaca is indigenous to the Philippines and its commercial production has always been centered here.

The king of Spain, the book reveals, rejected abaca rigging for his sailing fleet in the 17th century. Had he not been so shortsighted, he might have found the riches he sought in his Atlantic colony, not in spices or gold, but in the strength and durability of the fibers extracted from the abaca plant that grew so abundantly in the archipelago. Some two centuries later, other naval powers, notably the U.S. and the U.K., did discover these extraordinary characteristics from their marine cordage. The author chronicles the subsequent international competition, which continues today not so much for ropes, but for the specialty papers for which abaca is uniquely well suited.

How can this fiber be so strong as to hold a ship in its mooring or tea leaves in a teabag?

The story of the Abaca takes you to old ropewalks and harbors in London and Salem, to mills of modern pulpers and papermakers, and to research laboratories in the Philippines.

  • Condition: New
  • Cover: Paperback
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  • ISBN: 9789715505840
  • Weight: 18 oz
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.0 inches
  • Publisher: Ateneo de Manila University Press
  • Year: 2009
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 310
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