Are there other technologies like Muslin that the British killed ?

So Muslin was a fine fabric valued its weight in gold during Roman times. It was invented in India and there was a booming industry exporting the fabric to the Middle East and Europe.

Fast forward to the British arrival in India and they subsequently killed the whole industry to promote their own inferior clothing made in the mills of England.

Since the sun never set on the British empire, Are there other technologies like the Muslin that the Brits killed in different places worldwide that were far superior for their times ?

I don’t know, but until I read your post, I had gotten the impression from watching Project Runway that muslin was a cheap flimsy fabric used only for constructing patterns.

I am not sure where you got the impression that genuine Muslin was cheap. Here’s one cite (but you will find many if you google):

“Even if it were not being produced in Pompeii, cotton as a fashion textile for social display would certainly have been available in the shops specialising in luxury and imported goods. There, the wealthy ladies of Pompeii might have found check and embroidered cottons from what is now Iraq and from India, which also exported a fine muslin cloth made of mallow fibre. “

Please note that although Iraq is mentioned above, it was just a trader. Muslin was produced in India.

Cite :

So, the common fabric called “muslin” isn’t the same stuff that originally bore that name?

Suppressing native manufacturing to create markets for British finished goods was pretty much Britain’s MO through centuries of imperialism. Some comparable measures include Navigation Acts in the American colonies and the salt tax in India.

Wootz steel, perhaps? (Supposedly for environmental reasons!)

That’s an easy-to-solve mystery.

He’s talking about jamdani muslin, which was a labor-intensive specialty cloth. All of India’s native textile industry suffered this effect, it’s just that jamdani was an elite product. The suppression was probably just icing on the cake - quality hand-spun cloth was going to be largely out-competed by European industrial production anyway as happened elsewhere in places like Persia in the same period. The British just preferred to accelerate the process by making their captive market really captive.

The Dutch were notorious for sailing round and wiping out spices on islands they didn’t control. I don’t know if this actually resulted any species being wiped out or industries destroyed.


Presumably the allure of boiling zillions of sea critters to extract a bit of Tyrian purple lost its allure thanks to the discovery of chemical purples that meant anybody could afford to wear the stuff. British maybe less to blame than others for its invention, but allied withtheir global cotton industry, they were major culprits in the purpling of the world.

Yeap. Just like the common China (ceramics) isn’t the same stuff as the Ming Dynasty ceramics(or other historic fine porcelain products from China).

Calling it just a “labor intensive process” is a gross mischaracterization. Just like any product of finesse like porcelains, leather & Chippendale furniture; fine Muslin from India required both technology and quality labor.

And how are Ming Dynasty ceramics different from other porcelain?

I wonder how things would have been different if a series of storms had marooned the British sailors.

Now, now, whats a little thumb chopping in larger view of things?

No, calling it labor intensive is 100% accurate. Labor intensive does not imply lack of technology, skill or finesse. It just implies a heck of a lot of man-hours. Building a modern Aston Martin is also a labor intensive process relative to a Toyota.

The British also put the transatlantic slave trade out of business in the 1800’s - not sure if that’s a “technology”, unless we count the construction of slaver ships.

And replaced it with indentured labor -

Such a shame!

As they’re still making the fabric in India and it’s still expensive I’m not sure what your point is? Factory woven fabrics were not a substitute for high quality muslin. They would certainly represent a product that people of modest means could afford.

Sure there are efforts to revive the industry and the fabric.

My point is : -

*"The handloom weavers of Bengal had produced and exported some of the world’s most desirable fabrics, especially cheap but fine muslins, some light as “woven air”.

Britain’s response was to cut off the thumbs of Bengali weavers, break their looms and impose duties and tariffs on Indian cloth, while flooding India and the world with cheaper fabric from the new satanic steam mills of Britain.

Weavers became beggars, manufacturing collapsed; the population of Dhaka, which was once the great centre of muslin production, fell by 90%.

So instead of a great exporter of finished products, India became an importer of British ones, while its share of world exports fell from 27% to 2%"*

taken from

To continue, I was looking for such inhumane and barbaric destruction of industry and technology elsewhere in the world by the erstwhile British Empire.

The OP is based on a false premise - Muslin wasn’t technologically superior, just superior workmanship.