A Short History of Net Making

Nets have been used since primitive times for a wide variety of purposes. We have utilised them for fishing, hauling loads, and even recreation in the form of sports nets.

Nets are comprised of woven fibres in a grid-like structure. They will block larger items from passing through while allowing smaller items and liquids to flow. They are strong, they’re transparent and they don’t require nearly as much material to do their jobs compared to similar products.

Here are a few ways that nets have been used throughout the ages.

History of Net Making

Fishing Nets: Where it All Began

Most historians agree that nets were first created for fishing and that they have been in use since the Stone Age. The oldest known net dates back to 8300BC in the town of Antrea, which is now in Finland. This net was made from willow.

Antiquity has documented many uses of fishing nets in Egyptian tomb paintings and ancient Greek literature. Romans also provide us with pictorial evidence of nets with their mosaics.


Gillnets: The Universal Net

Gillnetting is the most common fishing method used in all oceans and freshwater areas throughout the world. It is still used today by both commercial and artisanal fishermen.

These nets were made with vertical panels of netting that were set in a straight line. They were effective at catching fish by trapping them by the gills. The fish would swim into the net and pass only partly through the mesh. When they struggled to get free, they would get caught by the twine behind the gills.

According to archaeological evidence, these types of nets have existed since ancient times and were used around the world. Native Americans used natural fibre nets and nettles to craft them while the Japanese used gillnetting frequently in the Edo period (1603-1868).


Other Common Netting throughout History

There are two common types of netting that have been adopted by cultures around the world: Handmade netting and knotless netting.

Handmade netting is the foundation fabric for many kinds of needlework and craft. It has been used throughout history and is still used to add fullness to dresses to this day. Variations of this type of netting can be used to create bags, hammocks, handbags, scarves, knits and crochets.

Knot-less netting is known for its different weaving patterns. Its use depends on the type of textiles implemented and the size of holes that are created. Weaving patterns differ from knitting patterns because they are used for knotless netting. With this technique, the strand or fibre used in the netting is sometimes coated first for extra durability.


Nets have been an important part of human history and toolmaking for thousands of years. Find out how much they have changed with Commercial Netmakers in Perth. We create high-quality nets that form an integral part of your life and work.

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