Mungo.—The extensive adoption of shoddy as a raw material for cloth manufacture in a few years had the natural effect of rendering all the descriptions of rags from which it was manufac tured considerably dearer, and of bringing the price of the product approximately near that of wool. To those who had experience of the originally low cost of both the rags and the product obtained from them, this change was not altogether of a satisfactory nature. There still remained open another source of supply, if only means of rendering it available could be discovered or invented. This was in the rags of milled cloths, both worn-out garments and new snippings from tailors' establishments. These were practically valueless, in most cases being thrown upon the manure Leap, whilst from the London tailoring establishments the latter descriptions were obtained at a cost of about id. a lb., and were usually sold for the purpose of manuring the hop gardens in Kent and Surrey. Aft,er Law and Parr bad been engaged in the manufacture of shoddy for about 10-12 years, they made an effort to utilize these " hard" rags, as they have since come to be called, as opposed to the " softs" previously described. New snips were procured from London, in order that, if successfully treated, the secret as before might be preserved. The first effort was, however, an entire failure, the machinery which was effectual for softs " being quite unequal to the task of grinding " hards" into wool. Repeated trials were made, all ending in dis appointment, the snips were thrown upon the manure heap, and afterwards carted away to the fields. The idea, though abandoned for the time, was not lost sight of. It is stated that it often occupied the thoughts of, and was the theme of frequent conversation between, Law and Parr. Some few years subsequent to the failure of the above trial, George Parr, a son of Benjamin Parr, observed at a neighbouring flock-manufacturers' workshop (Perrit & Co., Batley Carr), a description of flocks entirely uew to him. Upon inquiry, he was informed that the firm were making a new kind of stuffing flocks by grinding up old coats. The young man saw that this grinding process was much more successfully accomplished than had been the case in their own efforts. Purchasing two bags, he sent them home, and made an effort to spin them, but found the cards of the Batley district too coarse for the necessary preliminary operations. Nothing daunted, he had them trans ported to Morley, to the establishment of John Watson, a manufacturer of fine broad-cloths. Here the efforts were renewed succeSsfully, so far as the production of a thread was concerned ; but it was pronounced to be quite useless, owing to the large admixture of cotton threads and linen linings tbat had been torn up with the cloth. Watson suggested that these should be picked out, and another trial made. This was done, and a more satisfactory result achieved, thought yet far from being such as would justify hopes of a commercial success. The trials were, however, continued by several manufacturers to whom the Parrs offered the materials freely. Successive improvements were made, but in spite of these, progress was slow. Finally the perseverance of the brothers Parr vanquished all difficulties. The article, called " mungo" from an ejaculation of one of the brothers that " it mun go," has since become an important source of supply of raw material to the union woollen manufacture, and to several other branches as well. Fig. 1440 is an illustration of the rag-grinding machine as at present constructed.
Carbonized Wool or " Extract."—A third class of fabrics containing wool yet remained to be utilized. This was composed of the union goods of Bradford and Norwich, in which, as a rule, the warp is of cotton and the weft of wool. The presence of the former in such intimate associa tion made it impossible to utilize the latter to any commercial advantage. In the paper-making trade, the vegetable matter was successfully extracted from these rags by means of caustic alkali, which dissolved the animal fibre, leaving the warp intact. The reverse of this process was suggested by seeing the details of its operation in the Exhibition of 1851. A ship's captain named
Corbett is stated to have been struck with the idea that it would be more advantageous to destroy the cheaper and preserve the more valuable fibre. To that end, he is alleged to have commenced the study of chemistry, and, after a while, found that a weak solution of sulphuric acid oontained in a lead-lined vat, in which the rags wore steeped for a short time, completely destroyed the cotton portion, whilst it inflicted little or no apparent damage on the wool. This soon led to the establish ment of a manufactory for the production of extract wool on a commercial scale. The inventor found more dif ficulties in his way than he anticipated. It was looked coldly upon by the Yorkshire trade, who saw that the treat ment to which it had been sub jected bad de stroyed its felt ing properties, and rendered it extremely brit tle. Now out lets, however, were found for it, and a great demand sprung up amongst carriage builders, saddlers, and upholsterers. As a stuffing material, it was sold largely to the home trade, and was exported to the Continent and America. During the civil war in the latter country, there was an enormous demand for it for army and hospital purposes. In the meantime, the Germans had succeeded in adapting it to textile purposes. Such is one account of this invention. There are, however, numerous claimants for the credit of this discovery, and, as in other cases, in tho multitude of assertions it is diffioult to discriminate to whom the honour should be rightly awarded.
A claim hits been put forward that " extracting" was first discovered and carried on for some tirne at Roehdale, the inventor in this instance carefully keeping hie discovery as quiet as eiroum stances would permit. This was early in the decade 1850-80. Soon after, a Mr. Crone, of Man chester, suggested the idea to two men who were practically acquainted with the bleaching and finishing processes, as carried on around that town, and by them the process was again discovered, and patented. The original inventor, after some time, bought up this patent, in order to prevent disputes. When the matter became thoroughly known, numbers of people commenced using the process clandestinely, to the disadvantage of the owners of the patent. It is from amongst these that the crowd of elaimants has arisen. " Extract " does not appear to have taken that important position in the woollen industries that haa been awarded to shoddy and mungo, but it has had a considerable influence in diverting to itsolf a demand that would otherwise have continued upon the latter articles and pure wools. Its indirect importance, therefore, will be readily recognized.
From the finishing processes of the woollen trade, such as raising, cropping, &c., a considerable quantity of fibrous matter is obtained. These are called "croppiogs," " cuttings," " shorts," &c., and are the result of the shearing action of a machine employed to cut down the nap of the cloth after "raising to a uniform level. This material also has been rendered available for the produc tion of a very useful fabrio, especially suited for the sharp winter temperature of such countries as New England, Canada, and Europe. This invention is of American origin, and consists in mixing " croppers' " dust in a strong solution of soap and size, in which a very loosely-woven fabric is then milled ; this fabric takes up the short fibres, and can be worked up to any required weight or thick ness, and afterwards be finished to a good surface. It is serviceable, durable, and cheap. An Englishman returning from the States is said to have brought back with him a knowledge of the process, which he introduced into Leeds. It has since spread into many other districts of York shire, and other parts of the country where its raw material is plentiful, and has become a con siderable industry. The demand for products of this kind outrunning the supply of croppers' dust, in 1873, Ferrar Fenton, of Batley, designed a machine for its artificial production from waste, since which, of course, the supply has been adequate to all requirements.