In the United States, by the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939, the term wool may be applied only to fabrics made entirely of new wool; the term reprocessed wool, to wool recovered from unused articles and waste; and reused wool, to wool reclaimed from used articles. The trade designates fleece wool as virgin wool, salvaged wool as shoddy. Salvaged wool may legitimately be used to add strength to soft new wool or to produce a cheaper product. Numerous synthetic fibers have been developed as wool imitations and for blending with wool.
The United States now produces a substantial amount of the world's wool, chiefly in Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, California, and Ohio. Woolen cloth manufacture is largely centered in New England. Other important wool producers include Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Russia, the Republic of South Africa, Uruguay, Great Britain, China, and India.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.