Scientific American 47, 10.8.1850
Nankeen is a cotton cloth of a beautiful color, which derives its name from Nankin, in China, from which place it was first brought to Europe. Many suppose that true Nankeen is artificially colored, but this is not so; its color is that of the natural cotton - a peculiar kind, some of which has been successfully cultivated in Georgia. The color of nankeen may be imitated in the most perfect manner, and in every case linen drill of this color, may be set down as an artificial production.
In the first place, let us say, every planter should have a washing house with a chemical drug-room close at hand, and every farmer should have the same thing. A small dye-house should also be attached, containing one or more boilers, a plentiful supply of water, tubs, &c., and a good drain to carry off the waste water. Every agriculturist should endeavor to acquire an extensive knowledge of practical chemistry. We know of no science superior to this for expanding the mind.
To produce light nankeen shades, the cotton cloth should be first bleached white. This can be done by having some of the chloride of lime dissolved in cold wter in a tub, using the clear hot, and handling the cloth in it till it is white, then handling it in a clean water, made sour to the taste, in a tub, by vitriol, and afterwards washing it well. It is then fit to be dyed; to do this, dissolve one pound of copperas in half a gallon of water, and dissolve two pounds of quick lime in 10 gallons of water; then let both solutions settle. Pour off five gallons of the clear lime water into a tub of clean cold water, sufficient to cover the cloth, and allow it to be handled by the selvage freely. Then into another tub of cold water, about the same size as the lime water tub, put in one quarter of the clear dissolved copperas. (Although it is a little more expensive, one ounce of the nitrate of lead should be dissolved with the copperas.) Now handle the cloth well for five or ten minutes in the lime, giving it three selvages from end to end, and afterwards wring and shake it. It is now to be handled the same way in the copperas solution, then wrung and aired for ten minutes.