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Wool and Worsted Manufac Tures

woolen, industry, manufacture, hand, mill, art, cloth, century and time

WOOL AND WORSTED MANUFAC TURES. The development of the art of spinning and weaving took place so early in the history of civilization that no records of its beginning are preserved, and which of the textile fibres was used first for this purpose is unknown. But certainly the art of producing woven woolen fahries was practiced by many different peoples at a very early period. At the time of Alex ander's expedition to India the natives of that region AN ore shawls of great beauty. The Greeks learned many processes of woolen manufacture from the Egyptians; the Romans from the Greeks : and from the Romans the knowledge generally passed to the Occidental world. Among the ancients, the method of manufacture was, after thoroughly cleansing the wool. to sort, card, and spin the material by hand. The loom for the welling was remarkably simple, even crude, but under the delicate manipulation of dexterous fingers, skilled operators produced fabrics that have never been excelled fineness of texture or delicacy of construction. even at this later day. (Sec WEAVING and Looms.) Woolen gar ments were worn by the Romans at a very early period. It is probable that the early lessons the ancient Britons received in the art were derived after the Roman conquest, and woolen manufacture as carried on in England was at the outset but a repetition, and after wards an elaboration and improvement on the methods previously known. It is generally sup posed that eertain Flemish weavers went to Eng land in the time of William the Conqueror. and obtaining the royal patronage, established the first manufactories of woolen goods. At various periods in the reigns of succeeding monarchs, other Flemish weavers were imported, and es tablished at different points in the kingdom. Henry II. established guilds of weavers in his reign, and the exclusive privilege of exporting woolen cloth was by him granted to the city of London. In the thirteenth century Spain pro duced her own cloth, and the beauty of her fab rics was celebrated far and wide. Italy followed, and for It time employed processes apparently su perior to any others in use.

For many centuries the manufacture of wool was carried on as a household industry. although in we:I-ion:II instances a large number of looms were gathered together under one roof and their products controlled by a single individual, as in the modern factory. The nt the woven fabrics was at an early date developed into a separate business, and here and there on con venient water powers fulling mills sprang up. The use of the teazel-burr for the nap on the fulled fabric was of early origin. The dixtinetion Lctween'ordin:u'y woolen fabrics and worsteds made from combed wool is mentioned in the earliest records of European wool manu facture. The combing of the wool was done by hand till well into the nineteenth century and the wool-eouda.rs formed an important industrial

class, but it was not till the latter half of the century that all the processes con nected tt ith the production of a woolen or worsted thread were grouped together in one establishment.

IItsTonv OF THE WOOL INDUSTRY IN THE I "N ITED STATES. In the rnited Ntates, as in Europe. the development of the textile mill be gan with the introduction of the neighborhood fulling mill. Next. clinic the public carding mill, where the wool was converted into rolls ready for the spinning wheel. l'revious to its dnetion carding had been done IT a couple nf hand emits. which were small. oblong boards. covered with leather tilled with points of fine wire. Py manipulating the wool between these teeth the fibre Was opened up. (See CARDING.) 1. he first wool-carding machine was put in opera tion in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1700. The same year, at Newbury, 3Iass., the first successful woolen mill was put in operation. By 1810 sev eral woolen mills were in operation and the amount of homespun was appreciably lessening, and the value of woolen cloth annually produced as a household industry declined so rapidly that not enough cloth was produced in the fac tories to make up the deficiency, and large quantities were imported. The value of the factory output from 1830 to 1850 was as follows: In 1820, 84,413,008; in 1830, $14.528,160; in 1840, $20.1;:n1,099: in 1850. S.440. 636.881. The value of imported woolen goods was: In 1821. 87.238y154: in 1831, $13.1:17,364; in 1840, 810.808,485; in 1850. $19.030,O19. 11y the close of the first half of the nineteenth cen tury all the great improvements which had been invented in textile machinery had been adapted to the woolen industry, and during the last half of the century the development of the industry except as disturbed by war or other political con dition. was more steady and natural. The in vention of the Crompton loom in 1837 and its successive improvements were of immense impor tance to the woolen industry. In 1873 the open shed fancy cassimere loom of L. J. Knowles en larged still more the field of weaving possibilities and facilitated the manufacture of many refrac tory patterns. Since 18(15 automatic wool-scour ing machines have been introduced. taking the place of hand washing, and during the same pe riod the carbonizing process of treeing wool from vegetable fibre and mixed shoddy from cotton has come into use. The art of dyeing also advanced. In the United States the woolen industry has been subject to great fluctuations. due to politi cal events, such as the Civil War. which sudden ly created an enormous demand for a certain class of woolen goods. and to tariff legislation. Statistics showing the present status of the in dustry are given at the close of the article.