Jolly-Bellin, Jean-Baptiste

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. c.1850 France
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French pioneer in dry-cleaning.
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Until the mid-nineteenth century, washing with soap and water was the only way to clean clothes; with woollen fabrics in particular, it was more common to dye them to a darker colour to conceal the dirt. In about 1850, Jean-Baptiste Jolly-Bellin, a Paris tailor, spilt some camphene, a kind of turpentine, on an article belonging to his wife and found that the area stained by the spirit was cleaner than the rest. He opened up a business for "Nettoyage à sec", the first dry-cleaning business. The garments had to be unstitched before being brushed with camphene and were then sewn together again.
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Further Reading
I.McNeil (ed.), 1990, An Encyclopaedia of the History of Technology, London: Routledge (provides an account of the development of methods of cleaning garments).
RLH

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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