Towels are one of the things that are generally taken for granted, but their usefulness makes our daily lives much easier. Their everyday use can make you forget their importance. With their soft and absorbent nature, they actually turn this daily function into something that also relaxes and soothes.
While when you think of towels, the most common place of use that comes to mind is the house, they can also be used outside. The gym, the beach, trekking, or even the office. So why not learn some fun facts about this daily-life saver of an item? Here are seven fun facts about towels:
1. Towels Were Invented in 17th Century Turkey
Did you ever wonder when towels were invented? They were first invented in the 17th century by the Ottoman Turks.
This great-grandfather of the modern towel was known as peshtemal. You might have heard of it, as it is still used. Of course, it’s not the same as it was in the 17th century.
These towels were like flat pieces of linen. With the Ottomans’ experience with their traditional carpet weaving, they were hand-embroidered with amazing motifs and designs.
During the 18th century, loops were added to the short sides. These works of art were called “havlı,” which means “with loops” in Turkish. Today, they are called “havlu.”
2. Towels Were Used in Ceremonial Baths
Iniatally, towels were used as ceremonial items for brides in the Ottoman Empire. They were used after pre-nuptial baths for brides. Different towels were used for different parts of the bride.
The first expansion of the towel’s use was for other ritual-like uses. It was used for cleansing both the body and the soul in traditional Turkish baths called “hammams.”
The general structure and concept of these bathhouses are quite similar to Roman baths, which also influenced Greek baths. These Turkish bathhouses were always hot and humid, and thus required a towel that wouldn’t be heavy when it got wet, as there was no chance to dry them while in there.
3. Only the Rich Owned Towels
In these modern times, towels are made in factories with great ease. But think how much effort and craftsmanship it would require for them to be made by hand.
During those times, this craftsmanship came with a just but hefty price. So only the rich and elite could afford towels.
But this didn’t mean that it was a show of class; it just didn’t make sense for the poor to buy.
Everything changed with the industrial revolution. The towel was one of the products that was affected by this new age and technology. The 19th century brought faster and mass production, making it possible for everyone to own a towel, if they wished so.
4. May 25th, World Towel Day
Did you know that there was a National Towel Day that is celebrated on the 25th of May? Well, now you do. It began in 2001 with a bittersweet memory, but now it has grown to be something much more than what it was when it first began.
Towel Day first began as a tribute to the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, who unfortunately passed away on the 11th of May 2001. Towels had an important role in the novel, and thus are celebrated by many people every year.
5. There Are Many Types of Towels
When you think about towels, how many can you count from the top of your head? Maybe you can think of bath, beach, hand, or hair towels. But how about the more obscure ones?
There are many specific towels when you know what to look for. Like a dog towel, made specifically for dogs. Or a fishing towel, only used during fishing. While these are rather well-known, there are more culturally rich ones that aren’t widely known.
An example is the towel the Japanese use to clean their hands before eating. This towel is called “oshibori” and they are most commonly used in izakayas, traditional Japanese pubs.
6. What Makes a Towel Dirty?
Did you know that the top layers of your skin are full of dead skin? You get rid of most of it by washing it, be it on your body, face, or hands. But some remain, and these get transferred to your towels.
Apart from this, bacteria on you can also get transferred onto the towels. And if you don’t wash your item often enough, the bacteria and dead skin cause them to get dirty and might even cause even more bacteria on them.
If your towels can’t dry properly and remain damp, this might also cause bacteria and fungi to grow on them, causing some health risks. This is why you should wash them every three to four uses.
7. How Are Towels Produced?
The production process generally consists of yarn, weaving/knitting, finishing, and garment stages.
Weaving is generally preferred as a method of creating texture in terry fabric production. Since natural fibers are usually used as raw materials in towel production, pre-treatment is a very important process step. In the coloring phase, dyeing or printing processes can be applied in fabric form, as well as production with dyed yarns.
Since terry fabrics should have high hydrophilicity, softness, and color fastness due to the place of use, applications are carried out by considering these features in the finishing processes.
In the garment phase, the towels in the form of balls that have come out of the finishing process are followed by the longitudinal cutting, longitudinal sewing, transverse cutting, and transverse sewing processes, respectively.
In the first stage, the towels, which are woven side by side in the ball, are cut longitudinally with the help of a special machine and separated from each other, and then the long edges are folded inward and sewn in another machine.
Then, these towels, which are in a row one after the other, are cut off from the places where their short edges meet, and these edges are folded inward and sewn.
We talked about 7 fun facts about towels in this article and we hope you enjoyed it. If you would like to read more about towels, bathrobes, and bathrooms, check out our blog.