The Ancient Egyptians used it. Therefore did the Old Romans. In the 1800's, a guy wrote about it, type of. By the Great Depression, there was a model baju batik modern demand for this. In the mid 1970's, medical technology told us we were carrying it out wrong. Right now, 21st century builders have to "go green" to earn green. And the near future seems brighter (and more energy efficient than ever.) We've used cork, asbestos, cup, plastic, foam and even mud to do it. Yes, when you look at the history of insulation, in all its myriad forms, we are able to see precisely how far we've come.
The Ancient Egyptians used insulation to maintain their homes and structures cool, and their linen clothing warmer in the cooler winter season. They added papyrus linings to their loincloths and skirts to maintain warm in winter. They built their homes of thick brick, designed to help keep out the sun's scorching heat in summer.
The Old Greeks knew about asbestos, in fact they named it. They used it to gown their imported slaves, as well for the wicks of their temple flames, napkins and the funeral gown of kings. The material's flame-resistant properties gave it a mystical charm to the Greeks. They had a common name for it, too - crysotile - this means "gold fabric." The Greeks were the first ever to go on record as noting that asbestos triggered a "lung sickness" in the slaves who worked with it and wore it. The Greeks also understood how to insulae their homes, using cavity walls. The air trapped among the inner and outer walls would act to keep out the colder or hotter air flow, depending on the season.
Always on the look-out for the next best thing, the Ancient Romans also dressed their slaves in asbestos cloth. They made tablecloths and napkins for restaurants and banquets out of asbestos cloth, throwing it in to the fire between diners or courses to completely clean it of crumbs. The Romans were possibly the ancient world's most noted engineers, and they knew enough to build cavity walled structures, too. They learned to insulate their warm water pipes with cork from Spain and Portugal so that they could be placed directly under floors without concern with overheating the flooring.
The Vikings and additional northern Europeans learned to insulate their homes with mud chinking, plastering it in the cracks between your logs or hewn boards of the buildings walls.. When mixed with horse or cattle dung and straw, the mud was referred to as daub, and was regarded a stronger, better building material over plain old mud. They created clothing out of heavy sheep's wool, and may have even used fabric to line the interior walls of their homes.
Cloth came to be widely used in the centre Ages among the wealthy as stone once again came into fashion for home building. These imposing rock structures tended to become drafty, damp and cold. Large ornately embroidered or woven tapestries would be hung on interior wall space, partly to filter the drafts and partly to absorb the dampness.