Recently, I learned about a kind of fabric called "sponged wool." Sponging was, and is, a technique used to pre-shrink wool and give it a more luxurious texture. It commanded premium prices because it can't be used on industrial-sized lengths of fabric; an explanation as to why can be found here.
Sponged wool is still being made (check out this page for one such fabric being sold), but in the early years of the 20th century, it was particularly fashionable--and many European immigrants to the United States earned a steady, if low, income sponging wool.
This article talks about how early 20th century immigrants ended up in the sponged wool business. In particular, it describes the career of one such immigrant, B.S. Moss, who went from working as a sponger to running his own wool sponging business and finally to making a successful career for himself in the budding motion picture industry.
This isn't the type of post I usually write, but I wanted one more post to go up here before we start the year 2022, in which I hope to devote more attention to learning about clothing history and making my own projects again. Happy New Year!