Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance of Rags by Hanna Rose Shell


Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance of Rags by Hanna Rose Shell


The history of modern-day old clothes recycling begins with a thing called shoddy. Starting in the early 1800s, shoddy was the name given to a new material made from reclaimed wool, and to one of the earliest forms of industrial recycling. Old rags and leftover fabric clippings were ground to bits by a machine known as “the devil” and then re-used. Usually undisclosed, shoddy–also known as reworked wool–became suit jackets, army blankets, mattress stuffing, and much more. Shoddy is the afterlife of rags. And Shoddy, the book, reveals hidden worlds of textile intrigue.

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226377759
  • Shipping Weight: 1.00 pounds

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About this collaboration

Hanna Rose Shell studies aesthetics, media archaeology, textiles, and the interface of art and science; her scholarship takes the form of text and film. Shell’s book on camouflage, Hide and Seek: Camouflage, Photography, and the Media of Reconnaissance, published by Zone Books in 2012, has since been translated into French (Zones Sensibles) and inspired her own and others’ multimedia works. Shell has published widely in scholarly and popular journals on subjects including taxidermy, waste processing, and the history of chronophotography. She served as co-editor for a volume on science studies published Princeton University Press and previously released an edited reprint of The Extermination of the American BisonTechnology and Culture, her scholarship has appeared in the publications Journal of Visual CultureConfigurationsHistory and TechnologyBidounTechnology and CultureNatural History and Cabinet among others.


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