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Rags, though valueless for most purposes, are yet of great importance in the arts, particularly in paper making. Besides the rags collected in the United States, the article is imported in large quantities from various foreign countries. Woolen rags, not being available for paper, are much used for manure; but those of a loose texture, and not too much worn, are unraveled by means of machinery, and mixed up with good wool, to form what is known as "shoddy," with which cheap woolen goods are made; while the refuse is pulverized and dyed various colors, to form the flock used by paper stainers for their flock-papers.


Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.