fine wire teeth set in leather, by which the fibers of the wool were reduced from their matted condition into a form somewhat parallel, to facilitate the spinning. With two of these brushes the operator, by repeatedly stroking one brush, laden with tufts of wool, against the other, gradually untangled and straightened them. The "cardings" were then taken carefully away from the wire bristles, and condensed into a roll, by rolling them on the back of the card, when they were ready for the spinner. Nothing could have been more primitive than this original card operation.
Some slight improvements of the hand-card preceded the invention of the cylinder machine. A frame adjusted to an inclined plane was equipped with coarse cards, on which the wool was placed. Sitting in front of this frame, the workman held in his hand a square board, also covered with cards, and carded the wool with a seesaw motion over the inclined plane. Daniel Bourne took out a patent for a carding machine in 1748, in which the principle of cylinder carding was rudely hinted at. "The cards are placed on cylinders or rollers," said his specifications, "and these act against each other by a circular motion."
This was the main principle of carding as now practiced. Improvements upon Bourne's machine followed rapidly. William Pennington and Robert Peel made modifications which led the way to Arkwright's "doffer comb," patented in 1775. To Arkwright also belongs the credit of the invention of the workers and strippers.
The present carding engine was evolved by successive steps at long intervals. The most important contribution to the card-