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Port Letter Grading of Flax




Flax is sorted and bracked differently at the various ports where it is chiefly shipped.


   Riga brands are as follows : K, crown ; H K, light crown ; P K, picked crown ; H P K, light picked crown ; S P K, superior picked crown ; H S P K, light superior picked crown.

   Crown flexes of " grey " or " white " colour are shipped from Riga, mostly to France and Belgium, as K or W K, grey crown or white crown ; G P K or W P K, grey or white picked crown ; G S P K or W S P K, grey or white superior picked crown.

  The Livonian or Hoffe flaxes shipped from Riga are D, hoffs dreiband ; W H D, white hoffs dreiband ; P H D, picked hoffs dreiband ; W P H D, white picked hoffs dreiband ; F P H D, fine picked hoffs dreiband ; W F P H D, white fine picked hoffs dreiband ; S F P H D, superior fine picked hoffs dreiband ; W S F P H D, white superior fine picked hoffs dreiband.

   The lower Riga flaxes are wrack ; W P W, white picked wrack ; P W, picked wrack ; G P W, grey picked wrack ; D, drei band ; L D, Livonian dreiband ; S D, Slanitz dreiband ; P D, picked dreiband ; P L D, picked Livonian dreiband ; P S D, picked Slanitz dreiband.

  The S D and P S D qualities are distinguished as Lithuanian Slanitz, Wellish Slanitz, and Wiasma Slanitz, there being differences in the produce of the several districts


 The Archangel flaxes are known as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th crown ; and 1st and 2nd Zabrack.


  St. Petersburg ships Pskov 12 heads, Longa 12 heads, Staro Ruse 12 beads, Saletsky 12 heads, 9 heads, and 6 heads, all of which are white, or water-retted ; also Rjeff, let, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th crown, and Zabrack, all brown or dew-retted ; many other minor dew-retted flaxes come from St. Petersburg, bearing the names of the locality of production, as Melinki, Bejetsky, Ouglitcb, Kostroma, Jaroslav, Vologda, Wiasma.


    Flax shipped from Pernau is distinguished as Fellin and Livonian, the former being the better, under the following marks: Marienburg ; G, cut ; R, risten ; H D, light dreiband ; D, dreiband ; 0 D, ordinary dreiband; L 0 D, low ordinary dreiband.

  Inconsiderable shipments are made from the ports of Narva (as No. V. and No. VI.), tibau (as crown ; and 4 brand), Memel (as 4 brand and N B), and Revel.

  Tow is classed as Archangel, No. 1 and No. 2; and Petersburg, No. 1 and No. 2. Codilla, as Archangel, No. 2 and No. 3 ; Petersburg ; and Riga.

  The exports from Riga in 1877 were 33,292 tone of flax (excluding tow and codilla); and in 1878, 29,682 tons. Archangel, in 1877, shipped 10,361 tons ; and in 1878, 8059 tons ; about to Great Britain, and I to France. Konigsberg, in 1878, exported 135,854 cwt. ; and in 1879, 135,600 cwt. Dunkirk, in 1877, shipped 518,399 kilo.

 The imports of flax into the United Kingdom in 1879 were as follows,

   Dressed : from Holland, 13,921 cwt., Russia, 6178 cwt., Belgium, 991 cwt., other countries, 2179 cwt.,

   Rough or undressed: Russia, 1,046,687 cwt., Belgium, 185,112 cwt., Holland, 107,944 cwt., Germany, 52,221 cwt., France, 12,453 cwt.,  other countries, 5362 cwt.,

   Tow or Codilla: Russia, 141,885 cwt., Belgium, 98,933 cwt., Holland, 16,581 cwt., other countries, 4641 cwt.,


   The principal sorts of Russian flax imported into this country are St Petersburgh, Narva, Riga, Revel, Pernau, Liebau, Memel, with Oberland from Switzerland and Dutch flax. The St Petersburgh and Narva flax are nearly of the same quality. Both sorts come to us in bundles of twelve, nine and six heads. The Riga flax seems to deserve the quality preference of any imported from the Baltic. It is the growth of the provinces of Marienburg, Druania, Thiesenhausen and Lithuania. The best Marienburg is called simply Marienburg M or Marienburg clean, the second quality cut GM, and the third risten dreyband RD. Of the three other provinces the first quality bears the name of rakitzer as Druania rakitzer DR,  Thiesenhausen rakitzer TR, and Lithuania rakitzer LR. The cut flax of these three provinces is the second quality and to the third quality belong the Badstub and cut B and BG, the paternoster PN and hafs three band HD.  

  Badstub and paternoster is the refuse of the rakitzer flax and the three band again the refuse of the former sorts and consequently very ordinary. The Revel and Pernau consists of Marienburg cut risten hafs three band and three band. The Liebau and Memel growths are distinguished by the denomination of four and three band. These two sorts as well as the Oberland flax come via Konigsberg, Elbing &c and are little esteemed in the British markets. Flanders or Dutch flax is well dressed and of the finest quality. From the late 18th Century Riga had a method of grading flax for sale on the world markets which, unfortunately, was committed to paper, and not put on the seals.  Flax Grade Letters (1863) Belfast Linen Trade Circular and others. The letter on the right of the group was called the Base Letter to which other letters were  added at the front to further describe the flax. Riga grades were also used at other ports.

3 = Threeband is 3rd grade flax

4 = Fourband is superior to 3-band , both exported to England from Libau & Memel.

A = cleaned.

B = Badstuben is a refuse grade of the top quality Rakitzer flax from Drujaner & Coupland regions.

BG = Badstuben Geschnitten, 3rd grade Badstuben Cut is the refuse of the rakitzer flax

CM = Crown Marienburg.

CR = Courland Rakitzer was not as good as the other Rakitzers

CPH = Crukken Pass Hemp .. preferred types are from Russia and Poland

D = Driebandt, Threeband Hoff. The City Arms used alone for this 3rd grade Threeband flax in Memel.

DC = Druania Crown from Tilsit

DD = Drujaner Dreibandt, Drujaner Threeband .

DR = DruanIa (Drujaner) 2nd grade Rakitzer, High Quality White Russian . 

DRD = Drujaner Risten Dreibandt, Drujaner Bundle Threeband was fine in fibre, moderately long, clean, soft, white, silver coloured and fit for spinning the finest yarns. .

DW = Dreibandt Wrack, 3rd grade Threeband Brack

F = Fein, Fine

FHD = Fein Hoff's Driebandt, Fine 3rd grade Hoff's Threeband;

FPHD = Fein Puik Hoff's Driebandt, Fine Picked 3rd grade Threeband. (Portuguese)

FPK = Fein Puik Kron, Fine Picked Crown.

FPHD = Fine Picked Hoffe Dreiband

FPSD = Fein Puik Slansky Driebandt, Fine Picked Slanitz Threeband, Fine Pink Slansky threeband.

FWPCM = Fine White Picked Crown Marienburg flax from the port of Koenigsberg. 

G. German

G = BEST from Pernau

G = Geschnitten, cut rejected crown.

G = Grau, Grey.

GM = MG = Marienburg Geschnitten, Second Quality Marienburg flax

GPK = Grey Picked Crown from Riga.

GPW = Grey Picked Wrack .. lower Riga flax

GRD = Geschnitten Risten Dreibandt, cut bundle threeband.

GSPK = White Superior Picked Crown

GW = Giligen Brack, Low Grade Threeband.

H = Hell, Heel, Light, Yellow.

H = Heide, TOW when used as the base letter  . 

HD = Hoffdreibandt, Hoff's Threeband (English) from Livonia, Light Driebandt.

HFPK (Hoff) Yellow Fine Picked Crown flax. 

HK = Light Crown flax.

HPK = Light Picked Crown flax.

HSPK = Light Superior Picked Krown (Riga).

K = Brown Crown Flexes from Riga

K = KPOHЪ (Kron) Crown is high quality long strong filament. Better grades are PK, FPK & ZK.

KPC = Konigsberg Podolia Crown from Tilsit

KRK = Kourland Rakitzer Kron, High Quality Courland Rakitzer Crown.

LC = Lithuanian Czukken hemp is as Rein Hemp but less oily and soft.

LD = Leiden Dreibandt, Lieden Threeband.

LD = Lithuanian Dreibandt, Lithuanian Threeband.

LD = Livonian Dreibandt, Lindlandischan Threeband from Livonia

LH = Livonian Hoffdreibandt, Livonian Threeband Hoff from Livonia

LOD = Livonian Ordinary Driebandt, Threeband, or Low Ordinary Driebandt.

LR = Lithuanian 2nd grade Rakitzer, High Quality Lithuanian flax but inferior to other Rakitzers

LRK = Lithuanian Rakitzer Kron, High Quality Lithuanian Krown flax

LS = Lithuanian Slanitz .. dew retted exported via Riga .. also Wellish Slanitz or Wiasma Slanitz

M = Marienburg or Marienburg Clean, High grade Crown, the source of best quality Livonian flax for Riga.

possibly Marienburg Badstube, a second grade flax from Riga .

MG = GM =Marienburg Geschnitten, Second Quality Marienburg.

MR = Marienburg Rakitzer = equivalent quality to Rein Hemp, Rhine Hemp

MRC =  MC = Mohilow Russian Czukken hemp

MRD = Marienburg Risten Dreibandt, Marienburg Bundle Threeband.

NB = Notabene is another name for Paternoster

NC = Newstadt Crown from Memel

NP = Paternoster is also Badstuben Cut (Sent to Portugal) is the refuse of the Rakitzer flax

O = OTБOPHЬII (OTBORNI) is Select grade

OC = Oberland Crown via Tilsit from Oberland in Switzerland.

OD = Ordinary Driebandt, Threeband.

OH = OUTSHOT is short second sort hemp. 

P = PICKED,  Puik (Pink)

PD = Puik Driebandt, Picked Threeband,   pink threeband.

PH = Puik Heide, Picked Tow flax

PH = PASS HEMP .. usually from Lithuania or Samogitia.

PHD = Puik Hoff's Driebandt, Picked Threeband. (French) Pink Threeband from Livonia.

PK. Pass Krown (flax) is very short but clean and  free of woody particles.

PK = Picked Krown (Pink Kron) flax from Riga.

PLD = Puik Livonian Dreibandt, Picked Linlandischan Threeband, Pink Livonian Dreibandt from Livonia.

PSD = Puik Slansky Driebandt, Picked Lithuanian Slanitz Threeband,  pink Slansky threeband

PW = Puik Wrack, Picked Brack, Pink Wrack flax

PZ (ПЗ) is possibly ПEH ЗAБPAKЪ lowest quality hemp codilla.

R (chista = clean) from Hemp seal of 1733

R = Rakitzer a first class type of flax

R = Risten, Bundle.

RC = MRC = Mohilow Russian Czukken hemp

RD = third quality cut Risten Dreyband Marienburg flax.

RG = Rakitzer Geschnitten, lowest grade of Crown Cut Rakitzer.

RH (MR) Rein (Rhine) Hemp is the longest best hemp, oily, strong and free of Codilla and woody particles .. sometimes listed as MR = Marienburg Rakitzer

RSC = Russian Slanitz Crown from Memel

S. Select is soft, silk-like flax in 3 grades

S. Spinning grade

S. Superior grade

S = Sanft, Sweet, Superior

SD = Slansky Driebandt, Lithuanian Slanitz Threeband.

SFHD = Superior Fine Hoff's Threeband.

SFPHD = Superior Fine Picked Hoffe Dreiband..

S G = cut

SH = Slansky Heide, Slanitz Tow

SPK = Superior Picked Krown (Riga).

TR = Thiesenhausen 2nd grade Rakitzer, a type of High Quality Lithuanian flax grown on the estate of Count Thiesenhausen was of long harle, strong, even, clean, white and soft.

W = Weiss, White .. is made up in bundles of 12, 9 and 6 heads called bobbins.

W = Wrack (Brack) Bracked flax

WC = Wilna Crown from Memel

WFPHD White Fine Picked, Yellow (Hoff) Threeband flax

WFPK White Fine Picked Crown flax

WHD = White Hoffe Dreiband

WFPHD = White Fine Picked Hoffe Dreiband..

WPHD = White Picked Hoffe Dreiband.

WK = White Krown (Riga Flexes)

WK = Wilma Krown on reverse of seals replacing NP

WPK = White Picked Crown

WPW = White Picked Wrack .. lower Riga flax

WS = Wellish Slanitz or Wiasma Slanitz

WSPK = White Superior Picked Crown

WSFPHD = White Superior Fine Picked Hoffe Dreiband.

XHDX = Extra Hoff's Threeband flax

XRX = Extra Rakitzer flax

ZABR, ZABRACK, (ЗAБP, ЗAБPAKЪ) lowest quality hemp

ZK = Zinc Crown (Zins Kron) flax




Copyright 2022 Ged Dodd

 aka PeaceHavens Project

 Click here for the terms
of free copy & share &
supporting your Project