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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 )
Storage of wool.-Most woolen mills have storehouses for the raw wool as it comes from the markets. Here the wool is piled up in proper order so that the various qualities may be readily found whenever wanted. The stockkeeping system usually employed here is very much like that of the retail storekeeper.
Wool sorting.-The first step in the manufacture of wool is the sorting. The fleeces come to the factory tied in bundles as they left the farms or sheep ranches, several fleeces often being packed in one large bag weighing several hundred pounds. These bags are brought into the sorting room and opened. The strings holding the bundles are cut and the fleeces are spread out on tables, placed preferably in a good north light, for the sorters who work at the tables must have the best lighting conditions in distinguishing the various kinds or qualities of wool in a fleece. The top of the table is usually made of wire netting to permit dust, sand, and other dirt to fall through when loosened from the wool.
We have seen that there are numerous kinds of wool. But the varieties do not stop with the classifications as outlined in previous chapters. Every fleece comprises several kinds of wool. The wool is not uniform over the entire body of the sheep. Some parts are longer than others, some are finer, some cleaner. The fleece, then, must be duly divided into parts in order to get the uniform wool desired. The best wool comes from the sides of the sheep, the next best from the back and thighs, that from the belly and throat is inferior, and the poorest wool comes from the breech and lower part of the legs. In some cases the fleece is divided into more than these four classes of wool. In fact, mills making fine woolens and worsteds may distinguish from eight to ten or even more classes of wool in the average fleece.
In the woolen trade these classes are known as picklock, prime, choice, super, head, downrights, seconds, abbs, and breech. In the worsted trade somewhat different terms are used for the different classes. Here the usual classes are fine, blue, neat, brown drawings, breech, cowtail, brokes, and so on down the range of quality. Another system of
THE MANUFACTURE OF WOOL 157
classification is the naming of each class by the number of yarn that it will make, as for example 40's, 60's, and 80's wool.
Method of sorting wool in fleeces.-The wool sorter first divides the fleece into two parts along the line of the back. Next he cleans out the worst part of the wool, the lumps of dirt, large burrs, and other roughage. Beginning thus on the outer edges he works inward on the fleece, tearing the wool out with his hands and throwing the various grades of wool into various piles or baskets, or sometimes into holes in the floor that lead to bins on a lower floor.
The job of sorting wool is not particularly pleasing or cleanly. The wool is always greasy and often very dirty, and not infrequently filled with sharp thistles, thorns, and burrs. The wool sorter grows accustomed to this, his hands finally growing so hard that the ordinary impurities in the wool have no effect on them. When the sheep have been diseased, there is danger of the sorter contracting the same disease, although with ordinary care the wool sorter is as safe as a workman in any other occupation. Of course, all danger from disease is entirely done away with in the washing and scouring processes that follow.
Wool scouring.-After the wool is sorted, it must be washed. Some of the foreign substances in the raw wool can be removed simply by washing in water, but the grease requires a solvent such as soap or gasolene. There are two kinds of common alkalies used in the manufacture of soap, caustic potash and caustic soda. The latter is cheaper but the potash is safer for use on wool, since the caustic soda is likely to cause damage to the finer fibers. Hence caustic potash soap is more generally used in washing wool. Several other cleansing substances are frequently employed, such as ammonia, special preparations like Wyandotte Textile soda, and sal ammoniac. To a certain extent gasolene or some form of petroleum naphtha is used to remove the grease, especially in very large mills. It is excellent for this purpose, but the wool still requires washing after its use; this process therefore takes more time and money than soap washing, and is naturally not widely used by the wool manufacturers.
Mechanical scourers.-The wool is generally washed in large vats or tanks arranged in series, the length of the whole apparatus often being more than fifty feet. These vats or tubs are fitted with mechanical rakes which drag the wool through the suds. The temperature of the water is a matter of importance. If allowed to get too hot, the wool will lose its fluffiness; if the water is too cold, it is hard to wash out the grease. The usual temperature is below r2o degrees Fahrenheit, about that preferred in careful laundries in washing woolens. Naturally the temperature should be somewhat adjusted to the kind of wool, to its fineness, and to the amount of dirt therein.
After being washed thoroughly in from one to three vats of suds, and wrung out after each washing by being passed through heavy wringers fixed at the end of each vat, the wool is finally rinsed in warm clean water, and the washing is completed. The whole process takes less than ten minutes in a modern plant.
Wool drying:-Next the wool is conveyed to a drying machine. In this machine the wool is moved backwards and forwards and tumbled in all directions, while at the same time currents of dry, warm air are forced through it. In the recent, improved types of machinery, this entire process takes only about five minutes.
Some moisture left in the wool.-The wool is not even now absolutely dry. It is allowed to retain a certain percentage of moisture for the reason that it works better in this condition than if it were bone dry. When too dry, wool is brittle. On the other hand, left too wet, it will not go through the machines well, and lacks elasticity. The proper amount of moisture has been computed accurately, machines have been devised to test the wool as to its moisture, and still other machines to apply the proper amount. Such mechanisms are called conditioning machines. The amount of moisture considered best for the proper working of wool is about sixteen per cent of the total weight of the wool.
Burr picking.-After the wool is dried, it is generally passed through other machines that pick out the burrs and other large impurities which the sorting and washing could not or did not remove. Not only are the larger burrs and other foreign matters removed mechanically, but any dust or fine sand that may have come through is blown out and sifted out of the wool in these machines. In spite, however, of the best that all of these processes can do, some vegetable matter nearly always remains tangled up in the wool, and cannot be removed by hand or by means of machines. Much more of this may be found in one wool than in another, and the student can readily see that this difference may be due largely to the differences in care given the sheep with regard to cleanliness.
Carbonizing.-The vegetable matter is removed by chemical means, a process called wool carbonizing. The method is comparatively simple. The wool to be carbonized is placed in tanks containing solutions of some strong acid like chloride of aluminum, hydrochloric, or sulphuric acid. Here it remains for a period of twelve hours, during which it is stirred several times. The acid, if it is not too strong, does not affect the woolen fibers, but attacks all vegetable matter and causes it to crumble. At the end of twelve hours the wool is taken out of the acid tanks and placed in an oven to dry. The temperature is raised to about 160° or 170° Fahrenheit, not so warm as seriously to harm the woolen fibers, but warm enough to cause the acid to eat or burn up the vegetable matter. When dried, the vegetable matter will be found reduced to a crisp and, on shaking the wool, will fall out easily in the form of dust. Even large burrs, straw, seeds, etc., can be removed in this way, but the risk in the use of acids and heat is such that the process is generally used only for disposing of the finer particles that the burr pickers and other machines cannot get at. The chemical carbonizing process came into use in the wool-manufacturing industry about 1880.
Loosening and oiling the woal.-After all of these cleaning processes the wool is run through another machine that takes the wool (which is now in mats and lumps) and picks it to pieces so that it all looks like a sheet of cotton batting; the same machine sprinkles a fine spray of olive oil or lard oil over the whole mass. This oiling causes the wool to work through the machines easily and prevents the fibers from flying about when the spinning and drawing begins. The lard oil is, of course, much cheaper than olive oil, but is not so cleanly and smooth in its effects on the wool; hence is used on the coarser, cheaper yarns. Lard oil is furthermore likely to turn rancid. After the oiling the wool fiber is ready for the carding machines.
Ripening'.-When the wool has been oiled, some manufacturers, especially those who use the "class three" wools, the stiff, wiry carpet wools, roll it up in balls and let it "ripen" for a time, in some cases as long as two weeks. The oil meanwhile penetrates the fibers thoroughly, softens them, and makes them much easier to handle in the carding and spinning that follows. Other manufacturers send the wool directly from the oiling machines to the carding machines.
WOOLENS AND WORSTEDS
At this point the method of treating wool divides into two different processes, one for the making of woolens and the other for the making of worsteds. The main difference between woolens and worsteds is that woolens are made from yarns in which the fibers are crossed and intermixed in a more or less indefinite manner while in worsteds the fibers in the yarn have all been combed out so that they lie parallel to each other. It is easier to comb the longer wools; hence, in times past, before the modern improved combing machines were invented, the long varieties of wool were called combing wools, while the short varieties of wools were called carding wools, the kind used in making woolens. This distinction is no longer a practical one, for both classes of wool are now used in both the carding and combing operations. The only thing that the wool manufacturer considers now in choosing his wools is the price and the peculiar qualities that he desires in his finished cloth. The worsted manufacturer may find that he can get the short wools of the quality to make just the kind of worsted cloth he wants at a lower price than that of the long wools; naturally, then, since modern machines permit, he will use the shorts. Usually, however, the fine long wools go into the manufacture of worsteds. Mixing.-The processes that follow are somewhat similar to those found in cotton manufacturing, the main differences being in the styles of the machines, and their adjustments to the woolen fiber. Where there are to be several varieties or grades of wool used in making the same yarn, they are mixed in proper proportions in bins like those used for mixing cotton. For example, if three varieties or grades are to be used in certain proportions, the proper amount of each grade is weighed out and transferred to the bin where the mixing is to take place. The first grade is laid down evenly over the entire floor of the bin. Next the second grade is laid down in the same uniform manner, and finally the third grade; the entire mass is thereupon packed down thoroughly. When wool from this bin is wanted, it is removed by vertical sections including all wool from top to bottom, a process which secures the proper proportions of each grade in practically every armful.
Carding and spinning of woolen yarns.-Next the wool is fed into the hoppers of the carding machines. These hoppers are fitted with self-feeding devices that deliver the wool evenly to the carding cylinders. We need not describe these machines in any great detail. The wool is delivered from the cards in the form of a thin cotton-battinglike sheet very loose and filmy in texture and with the fibers running in every direction. The whole sheet is then shaped into narrow bands or ropes, called "slivers," and wound on large spools or bobbins. The bobbins are taken to the spinning room where the sliver is drawn out to the proper thickness and spun into yarn. The woolen yarn produced in this way is covered with a fuzz which is characteristic of woolens. Woolen yarns are usually spun on mule frames since these spinning machines leave the yarn with a more fuzzy, oozy appearance and feeling than do the ring frames. The principle of wool spinning is the same as that of cotton spinning. The yarn comes from the spinning on paper cops, tubes, or bobbins. In this form it is ready for the weave room processes.
Sizes in. woolen yarns.-The size of woolen yarn is determined in various ways in different places. There is no standard system of sizes or counts in woolen yarns as there is in cotton yarns. Two systems are common in this country, one known as the "American run counts" and the other the "Philadelphia counts." The American run of yarn is about 1,600 yards. This is taken as the base. If the yarn of that length weighs one pound it is called size 1. Yarn running 16,000 yards to the pound would be called 10's, and so on. Obviously, the coarser the yarn the lower the number of the run. A No. 1 or No. 2 run yarn is very coarse and would be used in overcoatings, blankets, and cotton warp goods, where all the weight was furnished by the filling. NO. 3 and No. 4 yarns are medium, and Nos. 6 1/2 to 10 are fine.
In the Philadelphia system the base is a "cut" which is 300 yards in length. When the yarn runs 3,000 yards to the pound, it is called No. 10 cut yarn. When it runs 9,000 yards to the pound it is called No. 30 cut yarn, and so on. A No. 5 cut yarn is very coarse; No. 18 to No. 20 cut yarns are medium; and No. 30 to No. 35 cut yarns are fine.
In Europe there are several systems such as the metric or international, the English, the Prussian, the Saxon, the Viennese, and the French. Each differs considerably from the others. We need not concern ourselves about these systems here.
Uses of woolen yarns.-Woolen yarns are used in making fabrics in which colors and figures are to be blended. Some of the ordinary woolens are broadcloth, flannel, blanketings, doeskin, beaver, cheviot, tweed, chinchilla, frieze, kersey, melton, and cassimeres.
The combing and carding processes for worsteds.Wool that is to be made into worsted yarn is also carded, but with the result that the wool fibers are straightened out and made to lie generally parallel in direction rather than in the tangled form of the wool that comes from the woolen cards previously described. In this respect the cards used in making worsted yarn are more like those used in cotton manufacture than are the cards used in making woolen yarns; for in both cotton manufacture and the making of worsteds, the purpose of carding is to lay the fibers more regularly. What the carding machine does for the wool is not sufficient to make worsted yarn. Other fiber straightening processes must be employed. The wool is delivered from the carding machines in the form of a soft rope similar to that from the woolen cards described in the preceding paragraphs. This rope, called the "card sliver," is wound on wooden rolls into the shape of a large ball, or else is dropped into a tall metal can in such a way that it may be drawn out without difficulty or danger of tangling.
Gilling and combing.-In the form of card sliver, the wool is sent through gilling machines, several slivers at a time, and this process straightens the fibers of the wool a little more. From the gilling machine the wool comes off in soft strands. Four of these at a time are rolled up into a ball, and in this form the wool is taken to the combing machine proper. Eighteen of these balls are placed in the frame of the combing machine at one time. The ends of the slivers are properly attached to the combing apparatus and the machine started. Its operations are automatic. It needs but little attention except to replace the balls as soon as the first ones are exhausted, and to remove the combed wool which comes out in the form of a fine strand or sliver now called a "top."
The combing machine perfectly straightens out all the fibers, removes the short stock, the imperfect, knurly fibers, nibs, etc. This waste matter that comes out of the combing machine is called "noils." It can be used in various ways, as we shall see later on.
Combing machines.-There are four types of combs. The French or Heilman comb is suitable for combing the very short wools, especially those from South America. It is used extensively in France and is gaining in favor elsewhere for preparing soft yarns for dress goods. The square motion or Holden comb is adapted to wools of medium length but has not been widely adopted. The nip or Lister comb is used for combing the long varieties of wool, mohair, and alpaca. The comb most widely used, especially in the United States, because of its adaptability to average wools, is the Noble comb. This is really made up of three circular combs, two smaller ones revolving inside the larger and touching it at two points. Into the intersection of the circular combs, which all revolve in the same direction, the uncombed rope of wool is pressed by means of a brush. As the circles diverge, the wool, now imbedded in the teeth of the comb, is drawn through the teeth and left protruding from the inside of the large circle and from the outside of the small circles. The final operation collects these protruding ends and draws them off in a continuous and parallel rope or top. The short wool or noil, which is removed from the long fiber, is left in the small circles and from there removed by noil knives, falling as waste under the comb.
Gill boxes.-A number of the strands as they come from the combs are again combined and run through other machines called gill boxes. These reduce the strands to uniform size and again comb the yarn. The strands from the gill boxes are once more wound into large balls, and in this form are called "finished tops."
Combing is not always done by the mill that does the spinning and weaving. In fact some worsted goods manu facturers begin their processes with tops. The wool in this form may be purchased both in the markets and by contract with factories having combing machines. America both exports and imports large quantities of tops. England produces large quantities for Sweden, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Drawing.-After the combing is completed, the tops are sent through drawing machines to reduce the size of the strand, and finally they are ready for twisting or spinning. It is then called "roving." It takes a variable number of machines to change the wool from tops to roving. Sometimes the strands pass through as many as eight or nine processes all tending to draw the strand a little finer. The finer the yarn that is to be made, the finer the roving must be, and therefore the more times the tops must be passed through the drawing machines.
Spinning.-In the last stages of the drawing a little twist is given to the roving to give it greater strengths Spinning consists in giving the yarn the full number of twists required. This number varies with the uses to which the yarn is to be put, and with the size. Yarns for clothing worsted average about fifteen turns to the inch in the finished yarns.
Spinning machines.-Worsted yarns are spun by two different sets of machines, one known as the Bradford system, named after the great worsted spinning center in England, and the other as the French system. The former is the older method and the one most frequently used in England and in certain parts of this country. The French system, however, seems to be supplanting the Bradford system. By this system it is possible to use the short wools in making worsted yarns. The French system also makes a fuzzier or more wooly yarn than the Bradford, and for many fabrics this is very desirable. Again, French worsteds shrink less than the Bradford worsteds, another decided advantage. Still another is that the wool spun by the French system needs less oil. This is quite a saving, counting not only the oil but the soap that is required to wash the ail out after the yarn is made, and the time and labor it takes to perform the oiling and washing.
The difference between the French and the Bradford systems in technique is largely in the way the yarns are drawn out. The French system puts no twist in the yarn until it is fully drawn out for spinning. The openness of the fiber is preserved down to the last. The roving is then always spun on a mule frame and not on the cap or ring frame spinning machines. The product is a fine, soft, lofty yarn that is used for fine dress goods and fine knit goods. The Bradford yarns are more suitable for hard woven fabrics.
The cap-frame and the ring-frame spinning machines produce yarns the most rapidly. Since the cap-frame type is even more rapid than the ring-frame, it is best liked by the American producers of worsteds. The speed at which cap frames are run is so great that the yarn becomes somewhat rough because of the centrifugal force at the point where the yarn is wound on the spindle. For finer yarns the ring frame is used. For the finest yarns, as has already been stated, the mule frame is still the best spinning machine.
Worsted yarn sizes.-Worsted yarns are often twisted double or two-ply, and sometimes three- and four-ply. Single yarns are measured by a count system based on the hank of 560 yards. If there are 560 yards of yarn in a pound, the yarn is called No. 1 or simply 1's yarn; 32 times 560 yards in a pound would be called 32's yarn, and 60 times 560 yards in a pound would be called 60's yarn. This system of counts is found in both England and the United States. The low counts of yarns are used only for knitting heavy sweaters; 30's to 40's are comparatively coarse for worsteds; 40's to 56's are medium; and 6o's up to 100's are fine yarns. Good half-blood wool will make up into 6o's worsted yarn. Counts above 8o's are infrequent. When two 6o's yarns are twisted together the yarn is designated as 2/60's and is read "two-sixties." In the same way there are 2/8o's, 3/56's, 4/60's, and so on. A great deal of yarn is marketed in every spinning district, and quotations on the standard sizes may easily be found in any textile journal at any time. Considerable worsted yarn is used for ornamental needlework and knitting; among such yarns are Berlin wool, Zephyr, and Saxony. Much of the worsted yarn goes into knit goods and underwear, but the greatest portion goes into the manufacture of cloth for women's dresses and for men's suitings. The carpet wools are generally worked up into worsted yarns for the better grades of carpets and rugs; some good rugs are made from woolen yarns also.
Weaving.-The weaving processes for woolens and worsteds are so similar to those for cotton goods, already described, that there need be no repetition here. The products of the loom are either plain, twill, pile, double, or figured weaves.
Woolen fabrics.-Among the plain weaves in the woolens are the homespuns, broadcloths, kerseys, meltons, and others. Among twills in woolens are the doeskins, tweeds, cheviots, and cashmeres. The pile cloths, such as plushes and velvets, are generally made from worsted yarns, at least that portion that is used in producing the pile. Woolen double weaves include beavers, chinchillas, and like fabrics.
Worsted fabrics.-Worsteds are made up into all kinds of weaves used in the manufacture of cloth, though some form of twill is most common, especially for the suitings into which large amounts of worsteds are made. Examples are the clay and unfinished worsteds, serges, woolen Bedford cords, whipcords, diagonals, Venetian cloths, wool crepes, panamas, etc.
Mixing wool with other textiles.-Both woolens and worsteds are often cheapened by the addition of cotton in various proportions. Wool is sometimes mixed with silk in various proportions in the production of fancy goods. Such mixtures of different textiles, cotton and wool, wool and silk, and the like, are known as union goods. Cotton is used in both the woolen and worsted cloth industries, almost entirely in the warp. Wool is used as the filling, as in cotton warp dress goods, cotton worsteds for men's wear, cotton warp blankets, and the like. To a certain extent, raw cotton is mixed with wool in producing "merino" or mixed yarns which are used in making certain cotton mixed woolen goods.
Cotton in lmit goods.-In the knit goods lines the use of cotton has increased very rapidly during the last twenty years. This change has resulted because of at least four reasons:
1. Cotton is cheaper than wool, pound for pound, and yard for yard; hence is used as a matter of economy.
2. Cotton, with only slight mixtures of wool, can be made to appear like pure wool in knit goods; hence there has been much adulteration.
3. Changes and improvements in house heating systems have made unnecessary the old-time heavy flannels and all-wool underwear and hosiery. The cotton mixed goods are lighter and cooler than the all-wool goods.
4. Cotton mixed with wool produces a fabric that does not shrink as the old-time woolens did, hence in some ways is more desirable.
Before any of the fabrics produced by the looms or knitring machines are placed on the market, they must first receive certain finishing processes.
Wool wastes or by-products.-In the production of wool from the raw material to the finished product a considerable number of so-called wastes occur. By-products would probably be a better name, for there are no wastes of material, strictly speaking, in a modern high-class woolenmanufacturing organization: Certain portions of the raw wool must be thrown aside when making certain classes of goods, but this raw material is used in making other goods. For example, at the very start of the manufacturing processes, as a result of the sorting, several different sizes of yarns are made from wool of the same fleece, and the parts not suited for making up into yarns are used in the manufacture of felt and padding.
Grease and potash.-In the washing process two byproducts occur which are usually sufficient in quantity to pay for the washing. The grease in the sheep's wool is saved whenever it is removed by the petroleum-naphtha method. The refined product is called lanoline, a substance used as a base for medical salves and as a grease in soap making. In the ordinary wool-washing process, besides the grease, a considerable amount of potash is washed out. Potash in the wool comes from the perspiration of the sheep. It is said to be profitable to extract it f rom the water used in washing the wool. Potash has numerous uses running from medical preparations to fertilizer for land.
Soft waste.-But even when the proper variety of wool has been selected and the process of manufacture begun, naturally not every particle will go through into the finished product. A certain amount of fiber flies off in the carding operation and this, settling on the floors near by, is known as "carding waste." A considerable amount is rejected by the combing machines; this is called "noils." In the drawing machines, certain portions of the tops are broken off or become entangled in the machinery. These pieces are removed by the machine tenders. If these pieces come from tops, they are called "top waste," and if from slubbing or roving, they are called "slubbing waste" or "roving waste." These wastes constitute what are known as "soft wastes," since they may be reclaimed directly by simply running them back into the carding machine along with the new wool.
Use of noils.-Noils, however, are not used in the manufacture of the same class of goods as those from which the noils are removed. Noils are generally taken from the worsted plants and sold to the carded woolen yarn producers. They form very important parts in the manufacture of woolens and knit goods, the recent census showing that nearly half of the raw material used in the manufacture of these goods was either noils from the worsted mills or shoddy.
Shoddy and garnet.-Shoddy is fiber manufactured by shredding woolen yarns and rags. The fiber from waste yarns is called "garnet." Both varieties taken together are called "hard waste" in contradistinction to the soft waste just described. The yarns that are shredded are the wastes, the ends, and tangled pieces from the spinning mills; and the rags include new pieces from the cutting tables of ready-made suit and cloak houses, tailor shops, and wherever there are cuttings from woolen fabrics; old scraps of cloth are also used, such as men's and women's wornout garments, suitings, coatings, sweaters, stockings, dress goods, and the like.
The rag business.-The old-rag business begins with the familiar country peddler or city pushcart man who gathers all kinds of old junk, among which there is a relatively small amount of woolen rags. At the end of his day's work, the peddler disposes of his heterogeneous collection to the small dealer in the town or city. The rags thus purchased by the dealer are both cotton and wool. He first separates the cotton from the wool. The former he sells to the paper mills or to jobbers; the latter he sorts into three grades: 1. rough cloth; 2. skirted cloth; 3, soft woolens. Rough cloth is made up of street rags and other coarse and much-worn woolens, which are ground up and used in making felt paper and machine waste. Skirted cloth is the hard-woven fabrics, chiefly men's suitings and heavy coats. The term skirted refers to the tearing out of the linings. Soft woolens are made up of sweaters, stockings, hoods, soft dress goods known as merinos, and other soft and loosely woven fabrics.
The skirted cloth and soft woolens are sold to a larger dealer, who finally sorts the rags into hundreds of classes according to the demands of the shoddy trade. These rags, generally very dusty, are sorted as a rule by poorly paid women into the numerous sorts depending upon the quality, structure, composition, and color of the rags.
The business in new rags is also important. These rags are collected from the smaller tailor establishments and sweatshops and are sold as "mixed new clips" to the large dealer. The dealer also buys the cuttings from the large ready-made clothing establishments, where a great many clippings are wasted in cutting garments. New rags are smaller than old, and therefore the sorting of them is slower. Grades are made on the basis of quality, color, construction, and composition.
Shoddy grinding machines.-The rags after proper sorting are ground up in machines that loosen all of the fibers and tear them apart until the material is reduced to the consistency and structure of loose wool. This is then ready to be passed through the carding, drawing, and spinning operations in the same way as new wool. It is sometimes worked up into yarns by itself. Oftener it is mixed with new wool or with cotton. When made from a good quality of rags shoddy may be of very good quality. In fact, good shoddy may be better in every way than poor new wool. Whatever the quality of the yarns or of the rags that go into the reducing machines, that will be the quality of the shoddy, except for one condition. The harder woven the fabric is, the harder it is to tear apart, and consequently more of the wool fibers will be torn to pieces. On account of this shortening of the fibers by tearing, the shoddy yarns cannot be as strong as the original yarns.
Mungo.-Mungo is a low-grade shoddy. It is usually made from the hardest woven woolen and worsted fabric. It has but little strength and is used mainly as a filler with other wools or with cotton. Most of it is used in the manufacture of blankets.
Flocks.-Flocks are the short fibers or nap shorn from the surface of woven fabrics in the finishing room. This substance is so short and fine that it looks like pulverized wool and is often so called. After the nap on a cloth has been raised it is finished off by shearing. The shearing machine acts like a lawn mower in cutting the raised nap; the short wool clipped off is known as flocks, used in the fulling process to give body and weight to cheap fabrics, and also for lining rubber coats and like articles.
Extract wool.-The wool in cotton-mixed goods is extracted by carbonizing, the same chemical process that we found used in freeing the raw wool from vegetable matter. The cotton-and-wool-mixed rags are soaked in an acid solution and then heated. This process burns out or carbonizes the vegetable matter, but damages the wool fiber very little. Later the cotton ash or dust is removed, whereupon the remaining wool is washed, dried, and ground up into loose fiber like other shoddy.
Uses of wool wastes.-In general, the waste wool products just enumerated are used in the carded woolen and knit goods industries. The noils obtained from combing the long varieties of wool are frequently spun and made into cheviots. Sometimes these noils are mixed with shortwool noils or with cotton, sometimes with both. The shortwool noils are generally used in producing plain and fancy woolens or soft fabrics. They are sometimes mixed with cotton in making warp. Shoddies are used largely in fabrics of the cheviot class; tweeds, union goods, backing yarns, knit goods, and blankets. Only the best blankets are made entirely of new wool. All sorts of wool substitutes, shoddy, noils, wool waste, and cotton are extensively used in making ordinary blankets. It is a marvel to the uninitiated how the extremely short and poor wastes and shoddy can be spun into a yarn and finally into a cotton warp blanket. The very poorest wool wastes and extracts are put into horse blankets and into such hospital blankets as must be burned after use.
Effects of fashion.-Not only cheapness but fashion as well has a great deal to do with the output of products containing shoddy and other wool wastes. When fashion favors the kinds of fabrics in which shoddy can be used advantageously, the use of shoddy increases. Naturally shoddy can be used in woolens more readily than in worsteds, but during the last twenty years, worsteds have been rapidly gaining in public favor at the expense of woolen goods. At present worsteds consume about four times as much wool as woolens do in this country. But there have been brief fads in the use of rough-finished woolen goods such as cheviots, tweeds, cassimeres, and chinchillas. The demand for rough wool sweaters and other knit goods is also an opportunity for the use of noils, shoddy, wool extract, and other wool substitutes.
The place of shoddy among textiles.-The process of reclaiming wool from woolen rags, that is, the production of shoddy, was invented in England over a hundred years ago but did not come into great use until about fifty years ago. There has been tremendous increase in the use of shoddy during the last few years, and it is likely that this is but the beginning of a much wider use. It is certain that as wool becomes higher in price, shoddy must supply the demand for warm, wool garments of a low and medium cost. In some lines, such as knit goods, the use of shoddy has superseded the use of new wool. It seems that some sort of regulation should be adopted to prevent the frequent injustice of selling shoddy for new wool, for it is very difficult and in some cases practically impossible to distinguish shoddy from new wool except in the wear. Dealers and consumers need to insist on getting what they pay for. Shoddy is all right at shoddy prices but not at the price of new high-grade wool.