INTEBESTING information on the development of natural and synthetic fibre industries is published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Arts (87, No. 4494). Discussing sisal and flax production in East Africa, Dr. W. H. Gibson maintains that the sisal industry is now well established in Kenya, binder twine and string being at present the chief uses for the fibre. Sisal is also finding a ready market for matting and upholstery filling, and tests regarding rope manufacture are giving satisfactory results. The flax industry in Kenya, on the other hand, has so far been less successful, due largely to the difficulties encountered in the process of retting, that is, the preliminary steeping process during which the fibres are loosened from the woody stem. Experiments recently carried out in the United Kingdom, however, have shown that it is possible to eliminate this process and extract the fibre from the natural flax, and with this discovery the way for the development of the industry in Kenya and other suitable parts of the Empire seems most promising.
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Natural and Synthetic Fibres: Sisal and Flax. Nature 143, 236 (1939). https://doi.org/10.1038/143236a0