Tea towels graced the highest tables of the land and were made of linen, a fibre derived from the flax of linseed plants. When not drying their fancy crockery, these ladies would embroider the towels. They would then create beautiful heirlooms to be passed down through the generations.
Tea towels were apparently first used by 18th century old English ladies to dry their fragile bone china.
The English, Australians and New Zealanders prefer the term ‘tea towel’. North Americans, meanwhile, normally use the term ‘dish towel’. Those of Italian descent may be familiar with the word ‘mappina’, which actually means map (apparently because maps were originally drawn on cloth).
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