The stalks are then bundled and retted by steeping in pools of stagnant water.
They are then "retted," or beaten, and the fibre is removed.
Breaking removes the woody center from the retted and dried flax by being passed through a series of fluted rollers.
A considerable amount of flax grown elsewhere in Europe is sent to this part of Belgium to be retted.
They are then pulled, and after the seed has been removed are retted in the ordinary way.
Fabrics of unretted flax require for complete bleaching about a sixth less time and materials than those of the retted.
Unretted flax requires a considerably longer time for breaking than retted, under the employment of the same manipulations.
Nor is the yarn of unretted flax, whether unbleached or bleached, in any degree stouter than the yarn of the retted flax.
Both lots when retted and scutched were examined by an inspector of the department and by several flax spinners.