An obsolete term for a coarse inexpensive fabric made from Oakum. Oakum is made from loose fibers obtained from untwisting old ropes made of hemp or jute. Tow linen shows numerous knots and defects. It was often treated with fish oils to make the rough fibers lie down. The oil or greased surface becomes dark when wet. Occasionally tow linen was used for artists canvases.
Synonyms and Related Terms
tow cloth; gunnysack (North Carolina)