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Caulking tools with tow

In the textile industry, a tow is a coarse, broken fibre, removed during processing flax, hemp, or jute.[1] Flax tows are often used as upholstery stuffing, and tows in general are frequently cut up to produce staple fibre. The very light color of flax tow is the source of the word "towhead", meaning a person with naturally tousled light blonde hair.[2]

In the artificial fibre and composites industries, a tow is an untwisted bundle of continuous filaments, in particular of viscose rayon, acrylic, or carbon fibres. Tows are designated either by their total tex (mass per unit length), or by the number of fibers they contain.[dubious ] For example, a 12K tow contains about 12,000 fibres.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Glossary of Colonial Terms, History Online Archived September 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Towhead" Online Etymology Dictionary; accessed 2016.11.28.