Varieties of every year is adding to the varieties of commeroial wool, new kinds being continually introduced, either from new sources of supply, or as the result of assiduous and careful oulture. The following table, constructed with great care, and corrected by some of the most eminent wool merchants and experts in this country, has been drawn up and published by Professor Archer, F.R.S.E., and will convey some idea of the numerous kinds of sheep, and the differences in the quality of their fleeces :— This table, though not absolutely exhaustive, is sufficiently full to present in outline a fair view of tbe varieties of sheep, and tbe ebaraeteristies of many of their fleeces. It will be obvious that no hard and fast line cau be drawn between the two classes or great divisions in wool, namely, clothing and combing wools. In the former, there are limits as regards length of staple in those suitable for the first class ; for the latter, such requisites as soundness and elasticity. It will be clear, therefore, that within these conditions, are many varieties that will (within given limits) be fit for both uses. The qualities that should distinguish a high-class combing wool have been presented for enumeration as follows :—viz. (1) weight, (2) colour or lustre, (3) length, (4) freeness, (5) fine ness, (6) elasticity, (7) softness, (8) soundness, (9) evenness of fleece. These points were submitted as queries to several wool dealers of the greatest experience, who were requested to divide a thousand points amongst them according to tbeir respective values. Soundness and quality, not singly but combined, were reported by these gentlemen to constitute the most valuable attributes of a combing wool. The queries having reference to Australian wools, the estimation chiefly relates to merino wools from that country, in both combing and clothing descriptions. Following are the answers, tabulated according to the queries In the preparation of wool for the market, it is desirable, if facilities permit, that sheep should be washed before shearing, because of the dirt and dust adheriag to the yolk or grease of the wool. When this is retained, and the wool is packed and shipped in it for distant markets, it is apt to injure the oolour, which cannot be restored. All such wool is disqualified for use in the production of fabrics intended to receive' fine colours. In washing sheep, the yolk should he entirely cleared, and the sheep allowed two or three days' run, to permit the yolk to rise again to about 20 per cent. of the amount an unwashed fleece usutdly containe. This gives the wool a soft eilky " handle," and maintains its natural elasticity and strength. After shearing, the fleece should be carefully skirted, and all locks, bellies, and stained, burry, and seedy pieces, removed ; care ought also to be taken that shanke or kempy hairs aro not folded iu the fleece. When these parts are removed, the remainder of the fleece will be comparatively free from faults, and conaequently all the more valuable.
Wools vary greatly in cleanliness, not only in the percentage of yolk or natural grease they contain, but aleo in the amount of foreign substances intermixed therewith. These consist of sand, dust, straws, burrs, and other matters, sometimes difficult of removal. The cleanest wools are those of this country ; the next in order are those of Germany, France, Australia, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, and Buenos Ayres.
Manufactured Wools.—Duriog the past half century, a great bmnch has been added to the woollen manufacture, and is popularly called the " shoddy trade." Its development is charac teristic of the time, which is coaspicuous for its efforts to utilize bye and weste, or what were formerly called " waste," produots. Many instances of successful resulte of this kind might be enumerated, but those that properly fall within the scope of this article will amply prove the economic tendenoy of the age. No sketch of the woollen manufactures would be complete if it
omitted a notice of this recent addition to manufacturing industry. Busy centres of population and oommeroe have sprung up in Yorkshire, entirely based upon this trade, whilst the woollen industry throughout the country bas received a great stimulus since shoddy became partly a competitor and partly an aid.
" Shoddy," in its wideet sense, means all fibrous materials of animal origin that, having once undergone the proceeses of manufacture, are recovered from this state by destructive processes, having for their ohjeet the restoration of the fabrics to a fibrous condition. Of course, sheep's wool is the chief constituent of the textures so reduced, though fabrica in which the hair and wool of other animala is a principal or subordinate constituent are also included. These recovered wools are divided into three classee, distinguished by the kind of matarials from which they are produced, or by the method of manufacture. The first of these is shoddy.
Shoddy.—This includes those recovered wools obtained by pulling into their original fibrous condition all descriptions of worsted and woollen fabrics known amongst dealers as " softs " : that is, unmilled fabries, auoh as old blankets, flannels, worn-out hosiery. It is difficult to decide to whioh amongst the several claimants to the invention of this system the credit is justly due. In Yorkshire, it is usually divided between, or rather claimed for, two persons, Benjamin Parr, of Batley, and Benjamin Law. An enthusiastic inquirer, who has devoted considerable time to the investigation, has, however, been led to the conclusion that the world is indebted to a Jew second hand-clothes dealer in London, during the Peninsular War, when the stoppage of the supply of Spanish wool, and the brisk demand for army goods for the contemplated expedition to Spain (wool from Spain being then used for making them), drove wool to a great price. This man conceived that it would be a paying speculation to tear up old blankets and white flannels by curry-combs, and mix the product with the genuine wool that could be bought in the London market. This was done, and these " doctored" or adulterated bales were sold in Yorkshire for full prices, yielding a handsome profit to the operator. When thie outlet for disposing of the product VMS closed by the decline in the value of wool, tho maker offered it in competition with genuine wool for saddlery and upholstery purposes. This inventor's name is not satisfactorily known, but is conjectured to be Davis. The second progressive step in the utilization of this material (its adaptation to the manu facture of cloth) belongs to the above-named Benjamin Law, a small farmer and weaver of Batley, then an inconsiderable moorland village in Yorkshire. Not satisfied with the prices realized for his webs in Leeds, he extended his ventures to London. Being in the city on one occasion, he observed in a saddler's window some material apparently like white wool, but which differed in several respects from any with which he was acquainted. Getting permission to examine it, he found by testing its staple that it would fully answer his requirements. He found the manu facturer and purchased a parcel for himself, whieh he sent down to Batley, and fully satisfied him self that it was capable of being transformed into useful fabrics. He carefully guarded his secret, admitting only his brother-in-law, the Benjamin Parr before named, to a knowledge of his dis covery. These two, having developed the manufacture to some extent, commenced to make the raw material themselves. From this small beginning, after struggling througn many difficulties, its use has spread into almost every portion of the woollen manufacture of this and other countries.