COTTON SPINNING; the operation by which cotton-wool is formed into yarn. The most ancient and simple method of forming filamentous substances into a continuous thread was undoubtedly by the distaff and spindle, a method still practised by the natives of India, and which appears to be known to every nation removed one step from absolute barbarism. The first improvement upon this simple contrivance was the spinning wheel, invented at a remote and un certain period; and by means of this machine, with some slight improve ments in its construction, the operation of spinning continued to be performed in this country until the latter part of the last century, when an entirely new system was introduced in the art, the process being no longer dependent upon the skill and intelligence of the artisan, but every part of it being performed by mechanical means, with a degree of accuracy and dispatch before unknown. The new system spread with great rapidity, and quickly raised our cotton manufactures, which were previously of small importance, to rank amongst the principal ones of the country. From a paper in the Repertory of Arts, it appears that so early as 1730 Mr. John Wyatt, of Birmingham, conceived the idea of spinning by machinery, and that becoming associated with a foreigner named Lewis Paul a patent was taken out in the name of the latter in 1738. In 1742 a mill was erected at Birmingham, which was turned by two asses. A more successful result attended the exertions of Richard Hargreaves, a weaver in Lancashire, who, in 1767, invented what is called the spinning jenny. In 1769 R. Arkwright invented the method known by the name of water spinning; and in 1779 Crompton combined the principles of jenny spinning and water spinning into a system called mule spinning, and by one or other of these three methods the operation is now performed.
We shall proceed to describe, as briefly as is consistent with perspicuity, each of these methods, taking them in the order in which the inventions stand in point of time; but first, we must note the method by which the cotton wool (which arrives in this country very imperfectly cleaned from seeds, dust, &c.)) is freed from these impurities. This operation, which is called batting, is performed by a machine called a batter, of which the annexed cut is a diagram.
The cotton is laid upon the endless web, or band, passing round the rollers a b, and by this band, which is called the feeding cloth, it is carried to the rollers c d, which deliver it upon the curved rack or grating e, whilst a scotch f, revolving rapidly upon its axis, strikes the cotton with its two edges and divides it, and the gins, sand, &c. fall through the circular grating e, and down the inclined grating i, at the same time a draft of air, created by the revolution of the fan k, blows the cotton forward along the passage I into a box, from which it is from time to time removed, any remaining seeds falling from the cotton through the grating m, (which forms the bottom of the passage /,) as the cotton is blown along the passage.
We shall now proceed to give a verbal description of the process of jenny spinning, unaccompanied by any representations of the machinery, which being the same as that which, combined with some other machinery, is used in mule spinning, will be described under that head. The process is as follows: The cotton, after batting, is soaped, by being immersed in a strong solution of soap; then pressed in a screw press, and afterwards stove-dried. It is then carded by a carding machine, from which it passes in the form of rolls, about the size of a candle, on to an endless band, from which it is lifted by children, and carried to be roved. The roving is performed on a billy, usually containing thirty-six spindles, driven by bands from a cylinder turned by hand. Upon the side next the carding engine is a feeding cloth, upon which the rolls from the carding engine are united so as to form a number of rolls equal to the number of spindles in the billy. After a certain number of revolutions of the
rollers of the feeding cloth, the cloth is stopped, and the rolls being held fast between two clasps of wood, the ends are attached to the spindles, that are mounted on a movable carriage, which, as it recedes, stretches the rolls and reduces them to the proper size of the roving. In returning the carriage, the rovings are built upon the spindles in the form of cones, receiving at the same time a slight twist; and when a sufficient quantity of roving is wound upon the spindles, they are removed to the spinning jenny. The spinning jenny differs from the roving billy in having the clasp boards attached to movable frames or carriages, and the spindles stationary. The clasps, by the receding of the carriage, reduce the rovings to the size for yarn, and during the return of the carriage the yarn is built upon the spindles. Jenny yarn is now little used, except for the weft of calicoes. Water spinning is the name given to Arkwright's method of spinning, because in all the mills in which it was first adopted the machinery was driven by water. The distinguishing feature of this method is the means by which the rovings are gradually reduced in thickness to the size of the intended yarn. In jenny spinning, we have already stated, this is effected by nipping the rovings at one part between wooden clasps, and causing the spindles to which the end of the rovings are attached to recede very gradually; but in water spinning this is effected by passing the rovings between the drawing rollers faster than it is taken in by the feed rollers; the fibres slide one over the other, and the roving is reduced in thickness, or extended in length, in proportion to the difference of the velocities of the feed rollers and drawing rollers. The process of water spinning is conducted as follows : After batting, the wool is carded by two machines, the first called the breaker, and the second the finisher. The annexed diagram will give some idea of the nature of the operation, and of the construction of the machine. The cotton is carried by the feeding cloth to the feed rollers b b, which deliver it on to the carding cylinder c. This cylinder is covered with slips of leather, stuck full of bent wires, forming what are called cards, which are ranged parallel to the axis of the cylinder ; the arched top d of the box in which the cylinder is enclosed is likewise covered with similar cards, the teeth of which incline in an opposite direction; as the cylinder slowly revolves, the cotton is repeatedly torn from it by the top cards, from which it is recovered by the cylinder, until the cotton at length reaches the doffer e, which is a cylinder with the cards ranged round it in one continued spiral fillet, that strips the cotton wool from the cylinder in a thin film, which is removed by a steel comb f, worked by a crank g; and by the comb it is thrown on to a smooth cylinder h, called the lapping cylinder ; this is surmounted by a light roller i, by which the film of wool is pressed flat upon the cylinder, forming what is termed a tap. After a certain number of layers are wound upon the lapping cylinder, which is called plying, or doubling, the machine is stopped, and the lap broken off and removed to the finisher, which has a carding cylinder, dotter, and comb, similar to the breaker; but instead of the wool, as it comes from the comb, passing round a lapping cylinder, it is drawn through a conical vessel b? a pair of rollers, which compress it, and deliver it in thin slivers or bands into tin cans; these, when fall, are removed to the draw frame, which is represented in the following diagram.