Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/126

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rations upon the silk are performed here, from the skain to preparing it for the weaver. The skain (the production of China) is first placed upon hexagonal frame-work wheels, and the filaments that compose it regularly wound off upon a smaller cylindrical one. The cones of silk thus produced are carried below to be twisted, when a proper machine unites two of them together. The women then receive the thread, and twist four, seven, or ten of them into one, according to the purposes for which they are intended; the finer thread going to the stocking-weaver, the latter to the manufacturer of waistcoat-pieces. It is now fit for the dyer, who discharges the glue which it had received in China, and gives it a beautiful gloss. The weaver then takes it, and proceeds to his part of the process; which is so lucrative, that if he have the least industry, he may earn two guineas per week by his labour; the profits upon a single pair of stockings being from three to four shillings and sixpence, according to the size. A common one consumes about seven hundred yards of twist. It is to the Italians we are indebted for our present elegant and expeditious mode of manufacturing silk thread; who were long exclusively in possession of it, till Sir Thomas Lombe clandestinely obtained in Italy, with great risque, difficulty, and expence, a model of one of