TIL Asbestos was commonly used to make false relics as the fire resistance was seen as miraculous. Additionally Charlemagne allegedly had an asbestos tablecloth he threw into fires to impress guests.

Read more: https://daily.jstor.org/when-asbestos-was-a-gift-fit-for-a-king/

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  1. >But asbestos was also turned to less scrupulous uses. The wondrous properties of the material made it a prime tool for the creation of false relics: its incombustibility served as proof of authenticity. Scammers passed off chunks of asbestos as fragments of the True Cross, and the monks of Monte Cassino bought an asbestos towel under the impression that it was the cloth Jesus had used to wash his disciples’ feet.

    >According to legend, Charlemagne liked to lay out his lavish banquets on a sparkling-white tablecloth spun from pure asbestos. After his guests had eaten their fill, the king would pluck the tablecloth off the table and fling it into the hearth. In the blaze, the cloth turned fiery red, but did not burn. When it was plucked out, it was cleaner than ever, with the debris of the meal roasted away.

    >Long before asbestos was recognized as a health hazard, it was a near-mythical wonder material, a gift fit for kings and emperors. One Han dynasty general apparently put on an even better show than Charlemagne: he would wear an asbestos jacket to dinner and “accidentally” spill wine over it. Feigning a fit of rage, he would rip off the garment and throw it into the fire, only to pull it out moments later, perfectly clean and unharmed.

    I learned of this from The Geology Flannelcast.

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