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Historical Sketch Of The Textiles
Mechanical Devices For Preparation Of Textiles
Geography Of The Cotton Trade
Prices Of Cotton Goods
Classes Of Wool
Production Of Wool
Manufacture Of Wool
Geography Of Wool Production
Mohair, Its Nature And Uses
Raw Silk Porduction
Imitations Of Silk
Construction, Color, And Finish Of Cloth
Dyeing And Printing
Care Of Textiles
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Character of the wool fiber.-Many animals have a hairy covering that may be used by man for textile purposes. The sheep is the most important in this respect. Wool, the hair of the sheep, differs from ordinary hair in at least two ways. First, wool is wavy or kinky, having from two to thirty "waves" or "kinks" to the inch, whereas common hair is straight or only very slightly wavy. Second, wool is covered with scales, from 1,100 to 5,000 to the inch; hair has few such scales.
Both the waviness and the scales give the wool a special textile value that other animal hairs do not possess. The waviness enables the wool fibers to be spun easily into fine elastic yarns. The scales cause wool to mat, rendering it possible to make wool cloth very compact, and even to make a felt fabric without weaving. Nevertheless, wools from different breeds of sheep vary greatly in these characteristics. Some wools are much like ordinary hair, and some hair is like wool. It is hard to draw the line between the two; in fact the same animal may have both ordinary hair and wool.
FACTORS DETERMINING THE QUALITY OF WOOL
The quality of wool usable for textile purposes depends upon the variety of sheep from which the wool comes, the nature of the pasturage for the sheep, the climatic conditions, differences in seasons, the health of the sheep, and their cleanliness.
Varieties of sheep.-There are many varieties of sheep, to which, by means of interbreeding, new varieties are being continually added. Most varieties, however, go back to only a few classes. Some say that there are really only three great families; others insist that there are more.
WILD SHEEP.-It is probable that the various kinds of wild sheep found in many parts of the world originated from some common kind, but changed in appearance and characteristics because of the differences in climate, food, and surroundings in the various countries into which they happened to wander. These wild sheep may now be found in the Rocky Mountains, Africa, South America, India, Thibet, Java, and other lands.
TAME SHEEP.-Among the domesticated varieties of sheep the classification is fundamental, that based upon the use made of the sheep. One large class is known as the mutton sheep, because of the excellent food value of the flesh. The other class is known simply as the wool sheep. It generally is the case that mutton sheep have inferior wool, and that wool sheep are not particularly good food. A third class has been bred by crossing the two classes; these crossbreeds are useful both for mutton and wool production.
The principal mutton varieties of sheep are the downs, among which are the Southdowns, the Suffolks, the Hampshires, the Oxford Downs, and the Shropshires. The wool varieties include the merinos, of which there are several special varieties in the different parts of the world, such as the Spanish merino (the original of all merinos), the Saxony Electoral merino, and the French merino known as the Rambouillet. In addition to the merinos there are other varieties of wool sheep known as the long-wools. Under this classification one may include the Leicesters, the Lincolns, the Cotswolds, the Romney Marshes or Kent breeds, the Devons, the Wensleydales, etc. On the principle already mentioned, the Southdowns, Hampshires, and Shropshires, while excellent for food, have only short, rather poor wool; the merinos, an the other hand, have the finest wool in the world.
General characteristics of merinos.-The merino sheep is the best known and most widely distributed breed, and is often crossed with the English or native breeds. It is a comparatively small sheep, well covered with dense, crimpy wool. The length of the fiber or staple, as wool producers call it, varies with the type, but is usually less than four and more than two inches. The fiber is fine-sometimes, in the finest merino, as small as .0005 inch in diameter-and grows more densely than on any other variety. Coarse wool sheep have from 5,000 to 6,00o fibers to the square inch, whereas the merinos have from 40,000 to 48,000. The merino wool fiber has, furthermore, more scales on its sur-, face than any other variety. Its fineness and the great number of scales on each fiber fit merino wool particularly for production of the finest fabrics. The merino sheep is very hardy, is easy to take care of in large flocks, and thrives under rather hard natural conditions; hence it is a favorite wherever the environment seems forbidding.
Variations in the merino sheep.-The merino, originally from Spain, has gone through numerous changes in the various countries to which it has been transferred. In 1765 it was taken into Saxony; here it developed into the Saxony merino, the finest of all fine-wooled sheep, which at one time was the main source of raw material for the finest broadcloths of England. The Saxon merino was also once popular in the United States, but is now seldom found there.
Merino in France.-In 1786 the merino was taken from Spain into France. Under the patronage of the government it developed a type now known as the Rambauillet. A few years ago this breed was introduced from France into the United States and speedily became popular, especially in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and on the western ranges.
Merino in the United States.-The first merino sheep were introduced into this country from Spain about 1801. It is interesting to note that the first merino ram, costing over a thousand dollars, was presented to a Massachusetts sheep farmer by a Boston merchant. Since the farmer knew nothing about the special value of the ram, he shortly afterwards killed it for food. Learning a little later of his mistake, he immediately paid another thousand to have another ram imported. By 1804 there was established at least one merino-breeding farm in America, in Connecticut.
In 1809 and 1810, the American consul in Lisbon arranged to have several thousand merino sheep sent over to this country. From this time dates the beginning of extensive merino production in America.
One variety developed from these original merino sheep is now known as the Delaines, a sheep of fair mutton qualities and one that produces fine wool. The length of the fiber or staple averages about two and one-half inches. Great flocks of the Delaines are now found in the eastern and middle western states.
Vermont was at one time one of the world's chief breeding centers for fine merinos. From Vermont merino sheep were sent to Australia, New Zealand, and to several countries in South America, but particularly to Argentina; whereupon Vermont began to lose her preeminence in sheep breeding. Now there are almost as many dogs as sheep in the state, a fact that helps to explain why sheep raising is going backwards. Besides, Vermont, as well as the other New England states, is now raising sheep for mutton purposes rather than for wool; hence the failure to keep up the pure-bred merino flocks.
Present merino wool production.-Merino production in the United States is now carried on in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and on the Western ranches, particularly in New Mexico, California, Washington, and Arizona. In view of the fact that formerly many more merinos were raised throughout the eastern and middle western part of the country than is the case today, and since frequently little care has been exercised in breeding, it is likely that some merino blood exists in a large number of the native sheep throughout the country. However, in mixing with the long wools and mutton breeds, the merino characteristics have generally been lost. The pure merino is no longer considered profitable in the more thickly populated parts of the country. In these parts farmers want sheep that will fatten rapidly so that they may be sold for mutton; hence the crossbred or the mutton type is generally favored.
Merino in South Africa.-South Africa had a woolless wild sheep when it was first settled by white people. Spanish merino rams were imported as early as 1680 and crossed with the native sheep. Wool production and exportation began in 1716. In 1775 a large number of merino sheep were imported from Spain, and from that time on South Africa has produced merino wool. This wool is noticeably uneven in quality, but that known in the London wool market as "Cape Snow White" is as good as the best wool in the world.
Merino in Australia.-Australia imported merino sheep from South Africa, from England, and from the United States; also indirectly through Tasmania from Saxony. Australia was already well established in sheep raising before 1830. Other countries, such as South America and New Zealand, have swung away from the raising of merinos to the mutton or crossbred types, but Australia has clung rather consistently to the merino. Between 1845 and 1854 a large number of Rambouillet rams were introduced from France and crossed with the older stocks of merinos, with marked success. Under native conditions in Australia at least three types of merinos have been developed. First, a fine-wool sheep which fares best on highlands within the temperate coastal zone, where short, sweet grasses are grown; second, the medium-wool sheep which can bear rougher treatment but needs rich and abundant pastures; and lastly the strong-wool sheep, of large frame and tough constitution, adapted to the great "out back" plains where the summer temperature frequently exceeds ninety degrees in the shade and where the food during several weeks in each year consists of sparse, dry grass or salt bush. Naturally, then, when Australian wool is spoken of, unless the variety is specified, it may be either fine, medium, or quite coarse.
General characteristics of the long-wools.-The longwool sheep are of English origin, as one may judge from the names. These sheep are generally large in size, and their wool is coarse but characteristically long. Leicester wool fiber is often more than a foot long, whereas merino wool seldom exceeds four inches. The long-wool sheep are generally good mutton sheep also.
Leicester sheep.-The Leicester is the oldest true-bred sheep in England. Its wool, although very long and shiny, is rather coarse. The wool is used in making lustrous dress goods, braids, linings, bright serges, etc. The Leicester has been mixed with several other varieties of sheep, particularly the merinos, and one of these crossbreds, the Dishley Merino, is among the best mutton sheep in the world. Pure-bred Leicesters are not frequently found in this country.
Lincoln sheep.-The Lincoln is perhaps the largest sheep in the world. It has a wool which is not only remarkably heavy, but is, moreover, as long as that of the Leicester. Its luster is excellent. Consequently this wool is used for practically the same purposes as Leicester wool. The Lincoln also is used in crossbreeding, especially with the merino. A very heavy product of fine wool is said to result. Lincoln sheep and their crosses are much in demand on the ranges of western America and in South America. Five thousand dollars for a pure-bred ram is not considered excessive.
Cotswold sheep.-The Cotswold also is much like the Leicester, large, splendidly fleeced, but with wool less lustrous than that of the Lincoln. The Cotswold is frequently used in the western part of the United States for crossbreeding with grade merino ewes. The result of this cross is good, for the lambs are large and fatten readily, while the crossbred wool is abundant and of good quality. Utah and other western ranges have many Cotswold and Cotswold crossbred sheep. Many Cotswold rams are imported from Canada and England for use in the western United States. This breed has been a useful one and is doubtless destined to continued service in the way of crossbreeding with range merinos.
Romney Marsh sheep.-The Romney Marsh or Kent sheep come principally from Kent, England. The breed is similar to the Lincoln, but not quite so large, and its fleece shorter and less lustrous. It furnishes a wool much desired by manufacturers in Germany and elsewhere on the continent of Europe. This sheep is unusually hardy, and fattens on grass alone; hence it is much in demand in such countries as Argentina, Patagonia, Uruguay, and New Zealand. The Romney Marshes are generally crossed with the merinos, the resulting fleece being excellent and of good weight. This variety is not yet well known in the United States, although a few breeding sheep have been imported at very high prices.
In general, the long-wool sheep all produce a heavy weight of wool each year, frequently twice as much in weight as a merino. They are large in body, fairly well suited for mutton purposes, and are greatly desired for crossbreeding with merinos. The wool, however, until crossbred with merino, is too coarse for any but limitea uses, such as in lustrous or shiny coarse fabrics.
WOOL OF THE MUTTON VARIETIES OF SHEEP.-The mutton sheep-the Southdowns, Suffolks, Hampshires, Oxfords, Shropshires, and Dorsets-are generally small, plump sheep, easily fattened, with a tendency to lay on fat rather than to grow wool. The wool is usually of medium length, soft, and fairly fine-the sort of wool much used in flannels, hosiery, and to a certain extent in mixing with longer wools for cloth. The Shropshires are common in Wisconsin largely because of the ease with which they can be cared for and because their wool is reasonably good. They are called the great "farm sheep" of the world because better than any other they combine the mutton- and wool-producing characteristics.
CARPET WOOLS.-There is still another class of sheep whose wool is in demand for certain special purposes. This wool is poorer than any of those varieties already described. There is a great deal of difference, however, among the wools of this general class, so a general characterization of them is difficult. Under this general class may be grouped all the wools of unimproved native sheep everywhere. Anywhere, the growing of this wool is a sign of indifferent breeding or of natural conditions which prevent the raising of a better breed of sheep. These wools, because of the unfavorable conditions under which they are raised, are "kempy," that is, they have white and dark brittle hairs which resist dyeing; or else they are "cotted," that is, matted or felted together. Such wools range from white to black. The staple is generally coarse and has but few scales compared with the higher grades of wool. The wools of this class are those most closely resembling hair. Uses of carpet wools.-Practically none of these wools can be used alone in making the cloth used in garments worn by the American people. When coarse tweeds and cheviots are in favor, some of the best varieties of these wools are used in blending with better wools. They are also used to a limited degree in coarse blankets and felts. The carpet industry, however, uses the great majority of these wools. The best varieties are used for Wilton, Axminster, and Brussels carpets; the poorer grades for ingrain carpets and cheap floor coverings. Because of this extensive use in the manufacture of carpets, this class of wools is known as carpet wool.
The use of this term may mislead one, because, as a matter of fact, whenever the regular wools are high in price and the demand for coarse woolen fabrics is strong, the woolen manufacturers mix large quantities of carpet wools with their other wools in making cloakings, overcoatings, and even worsteds. Fashion chiefly determines this matter. When cheviots and homespuns are in vogue, the manufacturer can produce the desired effect very economically by simply mixing with ordinary grades of wool a little carpet wool. On the other hand, to the Russian peasant, what we call carpet wool is good clothing wool. Multitudes dress in garments made by mixing these coarse wools with cow hair. The ordinary bed blanket of the laborer in England is a mixture of coarse India wool and cotton. Blankets of a similar kind are sold in increasing quantities in this country also. Felt boots, horse blankets, wool robes, papermakers' felt aprons, and wadding for gun cartridges are made almost entirely from carpet wools.
Where carpet wool is produced.-Very little carpet wool is produced in the United States, and that little comes mainly from New Mexico. It is called Navajo wool. Practically none of this wool is produced in England, France, Germany, or Austria, and less than formerly is being produced by Russia, Scotland, South America, Turkey, Persia, India, and China. Carpet wool is not very profitable; consequently, when the natives of a country producing such wools begin to learn something about agricultural improvements, they soon change to better breeds of sheep.
Scotch carpet wools.-Scottish blackfaced or highland sheep produce carpet wools that are strong and long in staple but of poor color. The better staple is used in the making of Brussels, Axminster, and Wilton carpets, most of it being used in Great Britain. American manufacturers buy here only when the prices happen to be low because of temporary market conditions. Usually British manufacturers are in a position to overbid American buyers for this wool.
Russian carpet wools.-The Russian carpet wools are among the best. In the English and American markets such wools are usually called Donskoi wools, but in Russia this name is given to only one particular variety. There are several others, such as the Savolga, Kasan, Tscherskoi, and Kuban wools, all similar in quality but grown in different parts of the empire.
Some excellent grades of carpet wools, the Georgian wools, come from Georgia, a province in southern Russia. Both Donskoi and Georgian wools are much in demand for making velvet, plush, and Axminster carpets.
Asian carpet wools.-Wools from central Asia are known as Bokhara, Turkestan, Merv, Transcaspian, and Calmuc wools. Bokhara wools are shipped from the city of that name. They are gray or black, and are well adapted to felting. Turkestan, Merv, and Transcaspian wools, similar to Bokhara wool, are used in medium grades of carpets such as ingrains and Smyrnas and, to a certain extent, in Axminsters. Much of these wools goes into the manufacture of the felt boots used by lumbermen and farmers in northwestern United States. Calmuc wools are all from the sheep owned by the nomadic Kirghiz tribes. Without proper care or attention, driven about from place to place, living where the land is rough and the pasturage is poor, these sheep produce a rough, coarse, matted wool, which seems to be not so much shorn as torn off the sheep's back. Although there is considerable variation in the quality of Calmuc wools, they all bring the lowest prices and are used in the manufacture of the poorest carpets and rugs. Since the decline of the ingrain carpet and Smyrna rug industry in this country, there has been practically no demand for Calmuc wools in America.
Mongolian carpe wools.-Mongolian wools come to the United States in great quantities for use in carpet manufacturing. Fifteen years ago they were scarcely known in this country, most of the development of this business having come since the Russian-Japanese war. These wools take bright colors well in dyeing and make up into a very springy carpet fabric. All the wool from large areas of central Mongolia comes to this country either through Siberia to the Pacific Ocean, or westward through Russia to the Baltic Sea.
China carpet wools.-China produces much cheap carpet wool of many varieties. Some of it can be made into worsted carpet yarns, some into spun woolen yarns. A little Chinese yarn is fit to go into the finest Wilton or Axminster; the larger part is good for only the poorer carpets.
Wools used in making Oriental rugs.-Turkey, Persia, and India are the chief sources of Oriental rugs. Oriental rugs are made from carpet wools. In these countries some of the best grades of this wool are to be found. The varieties are very numerous, especially from Turkey, Asia Minor, and India. Every locality seems to have a different kind of sheep with wool slightly different from that of other regions. In general, they are all fair to good in quality. During the last few years there has been a strong demand for Oriental rugs, resulting naturally in increasing prices on these wools.
Carpet wools imported by the United States.-American manufacturers buy from these countries and then usually mix with the carpet wools obtained from elsewhere. The variety of Persian wool chiefly used in this country is called Khorassan ; it takes color well and is used in Axminsters.
From the northwestern part of Asia Minor come Angora, Caramanian, Samsoun, Yosgat, Smyrna, Yerli, Bouldour, and Konich wools; from Syria come Aleppo, Orfa, Damascus, and Jaffa wools ; and from Mesopotamia come Bagdad, Awassi or Mossoul, Kerkouk, Karadi, and Bussorah wools.
The "Oriental Rug Trust:'-Smyrna is the center of the Turkish oriental rug manufacturing business. There are in this city over 45,00o hand looms under one concern, a sort of oriental rug "trust." These oriental rug manufacturers are today the principal competitors of the manufacturers of high-grade American rugs, not only in buying the raw material, but likewise in selling the finished products.
India carpet wools.-India produces a considerable variety of wools ranging from the poorest grades up to those which are suited for the finest rugs. The best include such varieties as Joria, Vicanere, and Kandahar wools. All are largely used by local Oriental rug weavers, and also by foreign manufacturers in making Wilton, Axminster, and Brussels carpets.
Food for the sheep.-The nature of the pasturage markedly affects the character of all kinds of wool. Rich soil, with a rich vegetation of sweet, soft grasses, causes a fine wool to grow. Chalky soils, such as are found in southern England, produce feed that has the effect of making the wool coarse. It is to be noted that the alkali in certain parts of the western United States makes more wiry the wool of sheep pastured there.
Climate.-Climatic conditions cause wool to vary. In dry regions the wool seems to become more like hair, if one may judge from the native or wild sheep; whereas in moist climates the fiber becomes longer and more crimpy. Wool is nature's covering for the sheep against cold and wet, and wherever cold and wet are characteristic, sheep have the longest, heaviest wools, and, unfortunately, usually the coarsest also.
Differences in seasons.-Differences in seasons produce differences in wool of a given locality. A dry, warm season causes sheep to have short, fine, resilient wool, while a rainy season means long, heavy, matted fiber. The nature of the shelter given the sheep also affects the wool. Poorly cared for, unsheltered, badly fed sheep always have the poorest wools.
Health of sheep.-A sheep in good health produces a good growth of its particular kind of wool; bad health as directly causes the wool to be poor. There are a number of disastrous diseases affecting sheep, such as anthrax, foot and mouth disease, stomach worms, scabs, etc., ailments which good sheep farming is successful in preventing.
Cleanliness.-Other factors conspicuously affect the quality of the wool as it comes from the sheep's back-cleanliness, for example. All wool naturally contains grease and perspiration that comes from the sheep's skin. Both lodge in the wool. Both help to keep the sheep warm during the winter time. These substances collectively are generally called the "yolk" or "suint," although the inclusive name "grease" is more frequently applied. Furthermore, sheep gather many foreign impurities that stick in the wool and grease. Dust, burrs, seeds, chaff, and manure are common. In dry regions, dust is likely to be the chief impurity imbedded in the wool. In our American middle-western pastures, sheep catch burrs, thistles, seeds, etc., in their wool. The careless farmers of Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Middle West let their sheep run loose in the strawstacks during the winter time. Here the neck and back wool of the sheep become filled with chaff. The very worst cases of this kind are to be seen where the strawstacks contain threshed barley, the beards of which penetrate the wool at every part of the body and work into the sheep's skin. Not only is the wool lowered in quality, but the sheep itself is made uncomfortable.
RELATION OF CLEANLINESS TO PRICE.-When wool 1S Sold by the farmer to the dealers, account must be taken of all these impurities, for the price is determined not only by the variety of the wool but also by its cleanliness. Since it is sold by weight, all impurities and all moisture must be discounted in the price. Sheep farmers often wonder why their neighbors who have the same varieties of sheep and who have similar pasturage and feed get several cents more a pound for their wool. The explanation is in many cases that the neighbors' sheep have been better cared for and have been kept cleaner.
DIFFICULTIES OF CLASSIFYING WOOL.-On account of the many conditions affecting the quality of the wool for textile purposes, it is not possible to classify wool solely according to the varieties of sheep, although that would seem to be the most natural classification. One classification has divided wool into three large classes: namely, carding, combing, and carpet wools. This classification had its value when only the longer varieties of wool could be combed, but today very short wool is being combed by improved machinery; the long wools are often carded and not combed; while the carpet wools, as we have seen, are not always used for carpets. Nor is any classification based upon use possible, for the average fiber can be used for a number of purposes. In the tariff schedules of the United States government, wool is divided into classes I, II, and III, based on the old carding, combing, and carpet wool division, but few people see anything praiseworthy about this unscientific law and its classifications. Schedule K, the part of the tariff law applying to wool, was declared indefensible by President Taft, and a Tariff Commission was set to work to determine remedies in classifications as well as in charges to be made by the government.
HOW THE MANUFACTURER BUYS WOOL
The wool manufacturer buys wool for certain uses. He has certain goods to be made, requiring definite qualities of wool. His buyers go into the markets of the world and buy wool that corresponds to those qualities, disregarding its name or its place of origin, so long as the price is satisfactory. If he cannot find a single variety that will answer his purpose, he will take two or more approximating what he wants and mix these in proper proportions.
Standard grades of wool.-Because of the variety of sheep raised, and because of the conditions under which they are raised, certain communities come to be known in the markets as sources of supply for certain grades and qualities of wool.
Saxon wool.-For example, we have already seen that Saxony produces a fine type of merino sheep. These sheep get excellent care as a rule, and the raw wool that comes from Saxony is, for its size, the finest, softest, most elastic fiber in the world. Every fiber has multitudes of scales or serrations; hence the Saxon wool has excellent felting qualities. This wool is in demand at high prices for use in making the finest dress fabrics. Wool manufacturers, then, look regularly to Saxony for wool of this grade. Australia produces greater quantities of good wool than any other country. But not all of the Australian merino is of good grade, as we have already seen. Certain places in Australia have a reputation for particular qualities in wool, as for example, Port Phillip, Sydney, and Adelaide.
Port Phillip wool.-Fort Phillip wool ranks almost as high as fine Saxon wool. Its color is good. It mats well. It spins yarn as high as 130's and is used largely in fine worsted and woolen dress goods. Port Phillip wool is therefore a standard fine wool, so recognized in all big markets of the world.
Sydney wool.-Sydney wools are not so fine as those of Port Phillip, not so strong, nor so uniform in length. However, they are used in making medium and better grades of worsteds as well as woolens.
Adelaide wool.-Adelaide wool averages yet lower in color and other qualities. Being a very greasy wool, it shrinks much in washing. This wool is used in making medium fancy woolens and worsted dress goods. It will spin filling yarn up to size 60's
These three varieties of Australian wool, Port Phillip, Sydney, and Adelaide, are the standard Australian fine wools, but there are several grades of each, and the poorer Port Phillip wools may be worth many cents a pound less than some good grades of scrub sheep wool from Wisconsin or Minnesota. These three Australian wools are merinos. In addition to these, Australia sends out great quantities of crossbred wool varying greatly in value and in quality, ranging from common and coarse to fine and super. fine.
Van wool.-Van wool from Tasmania is a high grade of very white fiber that takes light dyes and hence is in strong demand for fancy dress fabrics.
New Zealand wool.-New Zealand wool is an excellent wool with exceptional qualities of elasticity, and is easy to spin. Because of these qualities this wool is very useful for mixing with shoddy and other wool substitutes to give these materials the springiness and bulk of pure, fresh wool. Cape wool.-South African wools, usually called Cape wools, vary from the finest to the coarsest. "Cape Snow White" compares favorably with the best Australian wool. Its peculiar whiteness fits it for use in the finest classes of dress goods. In general Cape wools are rather tender, less wavy, and less elastic than Australian wools and do not felt so well. On this account Cape wools are often made up into hosiery, shawls, and cloths where felting is not desired.
South American wools.-South American wools are usually not so strong, so elastic, or so satisfactory to felt as Australian wools, but they are improving rapidly with the better methods of sheep raising that are being introduced into Argentina and Uruguay; not improbably, then, the South American wools will before long rank above the average. It is not likely, however, that these countries will raise the finest wools, for the same reason that the Eastern United States no longer raises merino wools in great quantities. A fine wool sheep does not pay so well as a sheep that combines fair wool and good mutton qualities. During the last few years South American mutton has been in great demand in Europe. It is shipped by boat loads in steamers with refrigerator arrangements, and therefore arrives in Europe in a frozen condition.
American wools and their classes.-The American wools vary from the finest to the poorest. There are several classifications, some that apply only to certain states, as, for example, New Mexico, with its numbers 1, a, 3, and 4 wool, and California with its spring, northern, and fall wools. In California the sheep are sheared twice a year, the fall wool being worth less than the spring clip. In general, however, the American wools, particularly of the Eastern states, are classified as follows:
The finest quality is called "picklock." This grade does not appear in the market quotations, because it is very scarce. It is the quality produced by a pure Saxony merino sheep of which some were imported into Pennsylvania and Ohio about fifty years ago.
"XXX" wool is produced by a cross of the common American merino and Saxony merino.
"XX" wool is from a full-blooded merino.
"X" wool is from a full-blood or high-grade merino. "Half-blood," "three-eighths-blood," "quarter-blood" wools indicate varying percentages of merino blood in the sheep producing the wool.
What the terms mean.-It should be noted, however, that these terms refer, in the trade, not so much to the blood in the sheep which produced the wool as to the relative coarseness and fineness of the fiber. To be sure, the more merino blood in a sheep, the finer, as a rule, the wool is; but it is possible to have a wool of, say, three-eighthsblood quality either on an English crossbred or on a practically full-blooded merino. The terms "fine," "half-blood," "three-eighths-blood," "quarter-blood," etc., have in fact no necessary connection with the proportion of merino blood in the sheep which produced the wool so designated.
"Fine Delaine" is a straight merino wool some two and one-half inches long, adapted to combing.
"Braid" wool is a coarse wool, generally lustrous.
To each of these terms is generally prefixed the name of the state from which the wool comes; hence there may be Ohio three-eighths-blood, Wisconsin three-eighths-blood, or Missouri three-eighths-blood, and so on for all the rest of the varieties.
English method of grading wool.-To the manufacturer each grading term suggests the working and spinning quality of the wool. In England such designations or market terms for wool are displaced by the more direct naming according to the size of yarn that the wool will produce, as for example, 30's, 50's, 70's, etc. The American class known as quarter-blood would in England be called anywhere from 42's to 50's wool; half-blood would be called 58's to 60's; and X wool would probably be called from 64's to 70's. No. 60's wool is the English standard for comparison of prices. If one were to ask a British wool merchant the price of wool, he would invariably give it for the 60's grade, unless other grades were specified.
Special classes of wools.-The preceding are the regular classes of wool obtained by shearing full-grown sheep at the regular times. There are, in addition, other varieties of wool, obtained by other methods and having quite different qualities.
Lamb's wool.-Lamb's wool is obtained by shearing the lambs before they are a year old, generally at the age of six or eight months.
Hogg wool.-"Teg," "hogg," or "hogget" wool is wool from a year-old sheep which has not previously been clipped. The fiber is pointed and tapers towards the end. This is nearly all made into warp yarn.
"Shurled hogget" wool is the first-class fleece from a sheep which has previously been shorn when a lamb. Wether wool.-"Wether" wool in the United States is the name given to the wool produced on a castrated male sheep. In England, however, wether wool is any wool shorn after the first or hogget fleece has been removed. Pulled wool.-"Pulled" wool is that which is removed from the skins of slaughtered sheep. Pulled wool is a byproduct of the slaughtering and meat-packing industries in this country. Argentina, Australia, Africa, and other countries send a large proportion of the skins taken from the carcasses direct to Europe without any preparation. The city of Mazamet, France, is the center of the world's trade in these skins. During 1910, this city received and pulled the wool from more than 130,000,000 sheep skins.
In Mazamet the wool is first loosened from the skin by a rotting process. In this country and in Australia the wool is loosened by chemical means, either sodium sulphide or lime being used. Whatever the process there is likelihood of injuring the wool fiber; hence pulled wools are used only in medium and low grades of goods. They are used extensively for blending with shoddy, noils, and wastes. They lack spinning properties, are harsh, and do not work up like "fleece" wools, but are a valuable raw textile material and are sure to increase in importance with the growing emphasis which is being placed on raising sheep for mutton as well as wool.
Conclusion.-From the foregoing it will be seen that there are very many varieties of wool. In fact experience in grading United States wools has shown that even a system with two hundred defined grades is inadequate. Every locality has its own peculiar conditions affecting the wool. Furthermore, qualities vary endlessly according to the numerous varieties of sheep, their feed, care, cleanliness, the climate, the time of shearing, the health and age of the sheep, and other factors which all go to produce a wool with definite individual characteristics.