The New Student's Reference Work/Story of Wool

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NSRW Story of Wool - a sheep fold.jpg
Courtesy of Pan American Union
A SHEEP FOLD. One of the great industries of the world is the raising of sheep to provide wool for the manufacture of woolen goods. While sheep are raised in every country, and in all parts of every country, the great flocks are found in the western part of the United States, in South American countries, in Australia and South Africa. The picture shows a flock of French Merinos. This is one of the most popular of the breeds for the production of fine wool, suitable for clothing. Other breeds, which are bred for mutton as well as the production of wool, come chiefly from Great Britain and are classed as long wool and short wool breeds.
NSRW Story of Wool - sheep shearing and taking wool to market.jpg
Courtesy of Pan American Union Copyright by Underwood & Underwood
SHEEP SHEARING BY MACHINERY. On the left side we have a picture of sheep shearing by machinery. On the larger sheep ranches the method of shearing the sheep by power is being introduced. The new method has several advantages over hand shearing; the process is much faster and therefore more economical; the fleece is taken off cleaner, weighs more and is in better condition; and the shearing is more humane, there being no nicking of the sheep.
TAKING THE WOOL TO MARKET. In the lower picture we have a scene from Argentina, in South America, where there are immense ranches devoted to the sheep industry. The wool is clipped from the sheep in a single fleece. This is rolled and a large number of the rolls packed together in a single bale. These bales are carried by wagons to the nearest railroad point, from whence the wool is carried to Buenos Ayres for shipment to other countries.

NSRW Story of Wool - sorting raw wool into grades.jpg
NSRW Story of Wool - carding machine.jpg
Copyright by Underwood & Underwood Copyright by Underwood & Underwood
SORTING RAW WOOL INTO GRADES. We now follow the wool into the factory. There are two grading processes through which the raw wool passes before being spun into yarn. The first is the sorting of the wool as shown in the picture. This may be termed a grading for quality. The second process is the combing, which may be termed a grading for fiber length. Wool comes to market in fleeces, just as it is sheared from the sheep. CARDING MACHINE. Carding the wool, formerly done by hand, is now accomplished by machinery, the carding machine consisting of a series of rollers which are covered with teeth. The rollers are of different sizes, set at different distances and revolving at different speeds. The raw wool is fed into the machine at one end, and by action of the rollers the fiber is combed and straightened and finally delivered in the form of a fluffy woolen rope, which you see coming out of the front end of the machine.
NSRW Story of Wool - spinner.jpg
NSRW Story of Wool - twister.jpg
Copyright by Underwood & Underwood Copyright by Underwood & Underwood
SPINNER. Here we have a view of a spinning room. The carded rolls are here spun into threads, which are later woven into cloth or twisted into yarn, as desired. In the various improvements of spinning machinery, the object has been to invent devices for working a large group of spindles together and running them at a very high speed. TWISTER. This machine is called a twister and here the threads are drawn from the carded rolls and are twisted into yarn. Twisting is a part of the spinning process proper, which, in making worsteds, consists in first drawing out or drafting; second, twisting the drawn-out fibers; and third, winding the fibers, now called yarn, on the bobbin.

NSRW Story of Wool - slashing machine.jpg
NSRW Story of Wool - the loom.jpg
Copyright by Underwood & Underwood Copyright by Underwood & Underwood
SLASHING MACHINE. This is a machine for sizing the threads. In a slasher, the threads from a number of warping beams are first combined into one sheet and then plunged into a trough filled with size which is kept at a boiling temperature, and next squeezed between two pairs of rollers The sheet of yarn almost encircles two steam-heated cylinders. This quickly dries the yarn. The yarn is next measured, passed above and below rods which separate the threads which are wound upon a loom beam. THE LOOM. The first loom was set up in Dantzig in 1661. To prevent such a machine from injuring the poor people the authorities in Poland suppressed it and privately strangled or drowned the inventor. In 1733 John Kay, of England, invented a fly shuttle. Before Kay's time, the shuttle was shot by hand across and through the warp threads from side to side. Kay's loom forms the basis of all modern power looms. The above picture presents the marvelously ingenious power loom of the present day.
NSRW Story of Wool - teaseling machine.jpg
NSRW Story of Wool - shearing machine.jpg
Copyright by Underwood & Underwood Copyright by Underwood & Underwood
TEASELING MACHINE. This machine takes its name from the teasel, a plant which has a large flower-head covered with a stiff, prickly bur. This is used for raising the nap on woolen cloth. In the center of the machine is a large cylinder, as we see here, which carries little hooks like a teasel bur, for raising the nap on woolen cloth. As we see here, the cloth is passed over this cylinder and descends in folds. SHEARING MACHINE. This is a machine for cutting off the nap that is too long, making it smooth and even.

NSRW Story of Wool - spinning wheel.jpg
NSRW Story of Wool - weaving a Navaho blanket.jpg
Courtesy of National Museum Courtesy of National Museum
SPINNING WHEEL. This is the old spinning wheel, once in use in nearly every farmhouse, where they raised their own wool, spun their own yarn and made their own cloth with a hand loom. With the pin shown lying on the frame, the spinner whirls the wheel with her right hand and with her left feeds onto the spindle the loose rolls of wool, as they come from the cards. The spindle revolves at a high rate of speed, twisting the loose rolls into a hard yarn. WEAVING A NAVAJO BLANKET. Here we see Navajo Indian women weaving the famous Navajo blankets. They are woven in a simple loom, shown above, and formerly were colored in most pleasing and intricate designs of various colors by native dyes of delicate tones. Recently the Navajo women have learned to use the bright aniline colors of the white man, which makes a far less beautiful and artistic product.
NSRW Story of Wool - weaving the serape in Mexico.jpg
Copyright by C. H. Waite
WEAVING THE SERAPE IN MEXICO. The serape is a shawl or blanket worn as an outside garment by the Mexican Indians. It is woven in strips, each strip of a different color, and joined together in one whole. The weaving is of the simplest kind, nothing which could be called a loom being used, and yet the process is in principle the same as that of the modern loom. As can be seen in the picture, the warp threads are held taut by the weight of the woman's body thrown on the broad belt surrounding her waist. She has just shot the weft and is pulling it up close.
NSRW Story of Wool - llamas in Peru.jpg
Courtesy of Pan American Union
LLAMAS IN PERU. The above is a picture of a group of llamas. The llamas and the alpacas are found in the high Andes of Peru. These were the wool producing animals of the Incas, and are yet of most of the people of the Andes and the western coast of South America. The wool varies in length from two to six inches and is of a lustrous, fine quality, mostly white, black or gray.