corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


Resource Toolbox
Additional Links


(כֹּבֵס, kobes', from כָּבִס, to tread [comp. Gesenius, Monum. Phoen. page 181]; γναφεύς ). The art of the fuller is beyond doubt of great antiquity and seems to have reached at an early period a comparativa degree of perfection. Very scanty materials, however, exist for tracing its progress, or for ascertaining exactly, in aney particular age or country (see Pliny, 2:57), what substances were employed in the art, and what methods were resorted to for the purpose of making them effectual. At the transfiguration our Samioum's robes are said to have been white, " so as no fuller on earth could white them" (Mark 9:3). Elsewhere we read of "fullers soap" (Malachi 3:2), and of "the fullers field" (2 Kings 18:17). Of the processes followed ile the art of cleaning cloth and the various kinds of stuff among the Jews we have no direct knowledge. In an early part of the operation they seem to have trod the cloths with their feet (Geseneius, Thes. page 1261), as the Hebrew Ain-Rogel, or En-rogel, literally Foot- fountain, has been rendered, on Rabbinical autbority, "Fullers fountain," on the ground that the fullers trod the cloths there with their feet (comp. Host, Marokko, page 116). They were also rubbed with the knuckles, as in modern washing (Synes. Ep. 44; compare Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 2:1-2). A subsequent operation was probably that of rubbing the cloth on an inclined plane, is a mode which is figured is the Egyptian paintings (Wilkinson, 2:106, abridgm.), and still preserved in the East. It seems from the above notices that the trade of the fullers, as causing offensive smells and also as requiring space for drying clothes, was carried on at Jerusalem outside the city (comp. Martial, 6:93; Plaut. Asin. 5:2, 57). A fullers town (officina fullonis) is mentioned in the Talmudical writers (Midrash, Kohel. 91:2) by the name of, בֵּית הִמַּשְׁרָה, " house, of maceration." So far as it is mentioned in Scripture, fulling appears to have consisted chiefly in cleansing garments and whitening them (compare EAlian, Var. Hist. 5:5). The use of white garments; and also the feeling respecting their use for festal and religious purposes, may be gathered from various passages: Ecclesiastes 9:8; Daniel 7:9; Isaiah 64:6; Zechariah 3:3; Zechariah 3:5; 2 Samuel 6:14; 1 Chronicles 15:27; Mark 9:3; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 7:9; compare Mishna, Taanith, 4:8; see also Statius, Silv. 1:2, 237; Ovid, Fast. 1:79; Claudian, De Laud. Stil. 3:289. This branch of the trade was perhaps exercised by other persons than those who carded the wool and smoothed the cloth when woven (Mishna, Baba Kama, 1, 10:10). In applying the marks used to distinguish cloths sent to be cleansed, fullers were desired to be careful to avoid the mixtures forbidden by the law (Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:11; Mishna, Massek. Kilaim, 9:10). Colored cloth was likewise fulled (Mishna, Shabb. 19:1). See Schottgen, Triturae et fulloniae antiquitates (2d edition, Lips. 1763). (See HANDICRAFT).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Fuller'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
Search for…
Enter query in the box:
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology