As a small family run business we are reliant on both our experience and the quality of our products. We are proud that ALL of our New Forest branded wax products are built with British Millerain wax. The original manufacturer of waxed cotton and a global leader in specialist textiles for outerwear; British Millerain have been manufacturing in the UK since 1880 and still do to this day!
A Brief History of British Millerain
The story of waxed cotton begins at sea... Sailors in the 15th Century were at the mercy of the rain, wind and waves. Survival was dependant on good clothing. Left over pieces of oiled sailcloth were often crafted into crude smocks and worn by the men on deck to protect them from the harsh biting winds and sprays. In the 1700s, a weaving mill called Francis Webster Ltd began weaving cotton and perfected the art of treating it with linseed oil. Webster’s cotton was quickly adopted by the Royal Navy, however, Linseed oil was far from ideal, turning yellow over time and cracking in cold conditions, losing its weather-resistant properties.
British Millerain, already an established cotton finishing company, set at work to overcome this problem and pioneered the development of paraffin-based waxed cotton, which offered improved weather-resistance and breathability, without the deteriorating properties of linseed oil. This early work formed the basis of waxed cotton as we know it today! Realising the superiority of this new wax treatment, Francis Webster and other weaving mills began sending their woven and dyed cotton to British Millerain for finishing, providing the world’s first supply of paraffin-based waxed cotton for apparel.