Luton is the principal seat in England of the straw-plait manufacture, and large quantities of hats and other straw goods have been exported, though in recent years the industry has suffered from increased foreign competition.
The exports are copra, fungus and straw hats, which the women plait very cleverly.
Plicare, plectere, to plait, pleat, weave, and in the suffixes of such words as borXauws, duplex, double, simplex, &c. Similarly the termination "-fold" is added to numbers implying "so many," e.g.
Hand with inscribed scutcheons and interlaced plait or knot ornaments (intrecciamenti), the vaultings with stars on a blue ground.
But in the great Sala dell' Asse (or della Torre) abundant traces of Leonardo's own hand were found, in the shape of a decoration of intricate geometrical knot or plait work .combined with natural leafage; the abstract puzzle-pattern, of a kind in which Leonardo took peculiar pleasure, intermingling in cunning play and contrast with a pattern of living boughs and leaves exquisitely drawn in free and vital growth.
Tradition says that the straw-plait industry owes its introduction to James I., who transferred to Luton the colony of Lorraine plaiters whom Mary queen of Scots had settled in Scotland.
Tuscan plaits and hats vary enormously in quality and value; the plait of a hat of good quality may represent the work of four or five days, while hats of the highest quality may each occupy six to nine months in making.
The men either cut their hair short or plait it; married women plait their hair and wind round the head a black or parti-coloured silk handkerchief; girls wear their hair short.
Wants to vanquish Buonaparte? said the old man, shaking his powdered head as much as the tail, which Tikhon was holding fast to plait, would allow.
A dirty, barefooted maid was sitting on a trunk, and, having undone her pale-colored plait, was pulling it straight and sniffing at her singed hair.
The districts around Luton in Bedfordshire and the neighbouring counties have, since the beginning of the 17th century, been the British home of the straw-plait industry.
The chief industries are the manufacture of woollens, cottons, silks, glass, laces, tobacco, straw-plait, paper, sugar and hemp, the breeding of silkworms, iron-founding and working, timber-cutting and shipbuilding.
The natives round the Cameroon estuary are clever carvers of wood, and make highly ornamental figure heads for their canoes, which also sometimes show very fine workmanship. In the interior the people use the wild-growing cotton and fibres of plants to manufacture coarse drapery and plait-work.