Sir, The "tow rag" of your recent correspondence has an origin closer to home than suggested by your previous correspondents. Tow is the name given to one product of the preparatory processes of linen manufacture. Fine-quality yarn is spun from the longer flax fibres while coarser yarn is spun from the residual shorter fibres. These shorter fibres are known as tow and the resulting yarn as tow yarn. Its traditional use was in weaving coarse cloth used for heavy-duty cleaning or for sacking, and in the manufacture of ropes.