The superior insulating properties of goose and duck down have made it one of nature's most perfect insulators. Down has been used for centuries to fill pillows, mattresses, blankets, coats and clothing. The ability of down to trap a large amount of air and hold it creates an insulating barrier that keeps cold air out and warm air in.
And one of the nicest byproducts of using down filled bedding and clothing is the softness and luxurious feel of being wrapped in this downy comfort.
Down is the layer of feathers underneath the layer of outermost feathers on a duck or goose. The outermost feathers have a quill with the feather spikes radiating out from it. The quill is hard and stiff. Quill pens were made from goose feathers. Down, on the other hand, has no quill. There is a ‘quill point' at the very end of the down feather, but it is extremely small. This is the point where the down feathers grow from. Down feather only contain the soft ‘feathery' part the you see in regular feathers. And down feathers grow in more of a three dimensional fashion. This feature of down is what creates its pillowy-like properties.
In the past, down filled products were made by hand. Down was collected and down blankets, comforters and pillows were hand sewn and filled with down. The process, both of collecting the down, and creating the product, was time consuming. Having down filled clothing or bedding was a small luxury not available to all.
Today we are fortunate to have many options for acquiring down filled products. And modern science has come up with alternatives to natural down that have the advantage of being less expensive.
When you are looking for down filled bedding, true natural down throw blankets, comforters and pillows would be your first choice. Natural down is the most comfortable and warm. While some say they are allergic to down or feathers, it is usually found that the discomfort comes from dust that naturally accumulates. Down, like hair and fur, is a natural protein. Some studies claim that less than 1% of the population is actually allergic to down. Regular cleaning and occasionally airing out down filled bedding not only eliminates the problem, but keeps it fresh.
If you want the nearest thing you can get to natural down, but would like to keep your cost down, the many synthetic alternatives now come very close to matching the properties of natural down. While they may not be quite as ‘puffy' and able to hold air like natural down, they do have the advantage of being less expensive. These products are made to mimic the properties of natural down, especially the ability to trap and hold a large amount of air in a small space.
Modern times have brought many advancements in technology and creation of new products. And while most improvements make things better and give us products that are much better than what our parents and grandparents had, there are some things that we find cannot be much improved by technology. And the unique property of natural down seems to be one of these things. For true comfort and luxury, check out the comfort and feel of a true natural down filled product.