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Mexico

Mexican Fibre or Tampico (Agave lophantha)

Tampico Group

Tampico Group.

Mexican fibre or Tampico as it is also known, is a leaf fibre which comes from the spiny, cactus-like lecheguilla plant that grows wild in the semi-desert upland areas of Mexico. The fibre is extracted by scraping away the pulpy matter from the freshly cut leaves. This fibre distinguishes itself by its great elasticity and resistance to temperature change, as well as to acids and caustic soda, and its fineness for polishing and grinding. It is also very water absorbent, and non-electrostatic, so that the brushes remain dust free. The description ‘Tampico’ takes its name from the port in Mexico from which the fibre is exported.

There were problems with supply some years ago, mainly due to the rural exodus from the area where the fibre grows, resulting in a shortage of talladores (fibre pickers). This problem seems to have been mainly overcome but sometimes supplies are difficult due to weather conditions.

The fibre used to be a component part of all scrubbing brush mixtures, where it was mixed with Indian Palmyra, but due to the cost of the Mexican/Tampico, it is now often replaced by polypropylene. This has reduced the quality of the brushes, because Tampico’s best property is its capacity to hold water, which is 65% more than polypropylene.

Tampico is harvested from the wild plants, and is completely bio-degradable. The fibre is available in a natural cream colour, but is also supplied polished and also dyed black and as a grey mixture.

First stage of processing

First stage of processing of Mexican fibres.

Fibre processing

Fibre processing in the countryside.

Vast amounts of raw material

Vast amounts of raw material on stock in Mexico.

Final stage of processing.

Final stage of processing on HBC dressing machine.

 

Mexican Whisk or Broom Root (Epicanpes Macoura)

Mexican Whisk

Mexican Whisk.

This fibre is known as Mexican Whisk, Broom Root or rice Root, and is the root of the Epicampes macoura plant which grows in Central America. The roots of the plant are pulled from the ground and the skin is removed by rubbing them with water and stones. The best quality grows in Mexico, and it is a deep yellow colour with a natural crimp and is acknowledged as the best material for animal grooming brushes. The fibre tends to become brittle, and therefore the fibres are often soaked in water before use.