Carson Cooper Spinning Wheels



Available from Cooper Smith Publishing ISBN 978-0-9818772-5-9 112 pages Soft cover $23.95

Hemp, A Practical Treatise on the Culture of Hemp for seed and Fiber, with a Sketch of the History and Nature of the Hemp Plant, S. S. Boyce 1900


Cooper Smith Publishing

Wheel Maker's Craft

Guide to Making Spinning Wheel Flyers and Wheels

Guide to Restoring an Antique Spinning wheel

Guide to Making Spinning Wheels

Affaire d' Amour with a French Spinning Wheel


Contact us at:


All images and content

© 2010

Cooper Spinning Wheels and Cooper Smith Publishing


Harvesting Hemp for fiber in Kentucky, early 1900's

-Photo from James Lane Allen's The Reign of Law, (New York, MacMillan & Co., 1900)

Hemp has been cultivated for centuries as a fiber plant. It was grown by the early Greeks and probably by the ancient Egyptians. It has been grown in this country for about 130 years [written in 1911], the seed having been brought from France. During this time, its cultivation has been confined chiefly to about twelve counties in central Kentucky, in what is known as the blue-grass region. For the last forty or fifty years, however, the industry has spread into a number of other states, notably Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, New York and California.

During the years it has been grown in Kentucky, probably no other crop has brought in an equal revenue. A few years before the Civil War it contributed more to the wealth of central Kentucky than all other crops combined. At that time, Kentucky produced annually 38,000 tons, with a gross receipt of $2,280,000. during the war the industry declined but revived a few years later, and again declined owing to the use of iron and jute in the bagging of cotton. Hemp is now used largely for making burlap, twine and carpet warp.


The soil: While hemp will grow on almost any land containing a large amount of humus, it does best on well-drained silurian limestone soils. In Minnesota it thrives on drift soils. The moisture content is the important factor. The soil should be prepared thoroughly by breaking with a turning plow, plowing about six to eight inches deep, and by repeated harrowing and rolling.

Hemp grows so tall and dense that it kills weeds by smothering them better than any other farm crop. A good growth of hemp is effective in killing even Canada thistle and quack-grass. It leaves the soil in excellent condition for any succeeding crop.

Seeding: The best results are secured by sowing with a seven-inch wheat drill, running it both ways. The seed is sown at the rate of one bushel per acre. It is sown about two inches deep. After sowing, the land should be rolled. Hemp should not be sown very thick, because in thinning itself it will crowd out many plants and the size of the hemp stalks will not be uniform. The best fiber is obtained from stalks about one-half inch in diameter; if a thin stand is secured, the stalks will frequently grow to be three-fourths of an inch in diameter.

-L.H. Bailey, 1911

Reference material for the above included the fine work from 1900 by S. S. Boyce, Hemp, A Practical Treatise on the Culture of Hemp for seed and Fiber, with a Sketch of the History and Nature of the Hemp Plant (available from Cooper Smith Publishing).