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spinnable vegetable fibre, one of the oldest textile fibres, which has been cultivated since the 4th century B.C. and was used by the Egyptians as a fabric for the shrouding of mummies. Cultivated as an annual plant, mainly in mountain regions. F. is composed of 85% pure cellulose, a high percentage of lignin, and a remainder of ash. Preparation and processing f. for spinning is relatively labour-intensive, as it consists of scrubbing, soaking, drying, breaking, scutching and hackling. Flaxen fabrics are very strong, are lustrous and cooling, and are easy to wash. The main producers of f. are countries of the former USSR, Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It is used in the fabrics of summerwear garments (very often in mixes with polyester fibres), bed linen, tea towels, tablecloths, decorative fabrics, fabrics for technical use, etc.


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