Camlet, also commonly known as camlot, camblet, or chamlet, is a woven fabric that might have originally been made of camel or goat's hair, later chiefly of goat's hair and silk, or of wool and cotton.[1] The original form of this cloth was very valuable; the term later came to be applied to imitations of the original eastern fabric.[2]

The suit, dated to 1647 and which belonged to the Charles X Gustav of Sweden is made from wool camlet.[3]

In the 18th century, England, France, Holland, and Flanders were the chief places of its manufacture; Brussels exceeded them all in the beauty and quality of its camlets, followed by England.[4]

A variety of terms have been used for camlet in different forms:

Manufacturers of camlets had to take care not to introduce any unnecessary pleats in the fabric, as they were almost impossible to undo. This difficulty was so notorious, that a proverb existed, stating that someone "is like a camlet—he has taken his pleat."[4]


The origin of the term is uncertain. While certain authors reference camlets as originally being made of camel hair, others believe it is from the Arabic seil el kemel, the Angora goat.[2] According to Chambers's Encyclopaedia, it comes from Arabic chamal, meaning fine.[8]

French scholar Gilles Ménage determined that "camlet" was derived from zambelot, a Levantine term for stuffs made with the fine hair of a Turkish goat, probably the Angora goat, from which comes the term Turkish camelot. Bochart claimed zambelot was a corruption from Arabic. Others called it capellote, from capelle, she-goat. Still others have sourced camelot from the bare Latin camelus, so that camelot should properly signify a fabric made of camel hair.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. 1913.
  2. ^ a b "Camlet". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd edition. 1989.
  3. ^ Mathiassen, Tove Engelhardt; Nosch, Marie-Louise; Ringgaard, Maj; Toftegaard, Kirsten (2014-05-30). Fashionable Encounters: Perspectives and trends in textile and dress in the Early Modern Nordic World. Oxbow Books. ISBN 978-1-78297-383-6.
  4. ^ a b c d e Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "Camelot, or Camlet". Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1st ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.
  5. ^ Lebeau, Caroline (1994). Fabrics : the decorative art of textiles. Internet Archive. London : Thames and Hudson. pp. 204, 205. ISBN 978-0-500-01631-2.
  6. ^ Treasury, United States Department of the (1892). Treasury Decisions Under Customs and Other Laws. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 599.
  7. ^ Dooley, William Henry (1914). Textiles For Commercial, Industrial and Domestic Arts Schools; Also Adapted to Those Engaged in Wholesale and Retail Dry Goods, Wool, Cotton and Dressmaker's Trades. Library of Alexandria. ISBN 978-1-4655-4393-6.
  8. ^ Chambers's encyclopaedia: a dictionary of universal knowledge, Volume 1. J.B. Lippincott & Co. 1888. p. 263.