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Within the last four years cloth made from Suxon wool has been introduced, and it is now more highly esteemed than that made of Spanish wool, and bears a higher price. The emperor of Saxony raises a large quantity of wool and sends it to England.
3. Till the year 1331, the wool of England was sold in the fleece, to the French, the Flemings, and the Dutch; and particularly the merchants of Ghent and Louvain, who took vast quantities to supply two manufactories that had flourished in those two cities from the tenth century; and had furnished the greatest part of Europe, and even Enga land itself, with all sorts of woollen cloths. But the richness of the manufactories of Ghent, and the incredible number of persons employed, having induced the inhabitants to revolt, frequently against their sovereigns, on ac count of taxes, which they refused to pay; the seditious were at length punished and dispersed, and part of them took refuge in Holland, and the rest in Louvain. Many of these last, to avoid the punishment they had deserved for killing some of the magistrates, fled to England, where they instructed us in the manufactory of woollen cloth.
4. Some sort of woollen cloth must have ever been made in all civilized countries ; --wherever the Romans planted colonies, they there introduced the weaving of cloth. Camden, in his Britannia, speaking of the antiquity and eminence of the city of Winchester, says, there the Roman emperors seem to have had their imperial weaving-house for cloths both of woollen and linen, for most probably that necessary art was preserved in Britain after the Romans had quitted it, though, perhaps, of a plainer sort, till the fourteenth century, when Edward III. introduced the fine manufacture from the Netherlands.
5. The year 1614, produced the discovery of a new species of woollen manufacture in England. The States General of the Netherlands, having prohibited the importation of any English woollen cloth, that was dyed in the cloth, the English clothiers ingeniously devised the method of making mixtures dyed in the wool, rather than lose all the profits of dyeing and dressing. This has since obtained the name of medley cloth ; all woollen cloih before this time being only of one single colour, dyed in the clotb ; as black, blue, red, &c.
The Woollen Manufacture includes the several commodities into which wool is wrought; as broad cloths, kerseymeres, baize, serges, flannel, says, stuffs, frize, stockings, caps, rugs, &c.
6. Cloths. The word cloth is more particulatly applied to a web, or tissue of woollen threads, interwoven; of which some, called the warp, are extended longitudinally, from one end of the piece to the other; the rest, called woof, are disposed across the first, or the breadthway of the piece.
Cloths are woven on the loom, at well as linens, druggets, serges, camblets, &c. The goodness of cloth depends on many peculiar circumstances. The cloth should be well wrought and beaten on the loom, so as to be every where equally close and compact. The wool must not be finer and better at one end of the piece than the rest. The lists should be sufficiently strong, and of the same length with the stuff. For coarse cloth they should consist of coarse wool and cow hairs from Scotland; for fine cloth, of Vigonia, or Alpaca wool (taken from the lama,) from South America. The cloth - must be well cleared of the knots and other imperfections ; be well scoured with good fuller's earth, then fulled with the best white soap,
and washed in clear water. The hair, or nap, must be well rowed, or drawn out with the teazle (dipsacus fullonum, L.) without being too much opened ; it must be shorn close, yet without laying the ground or thread þare ; be well dyed; not stretched or pulled, further than is nem cessary to bring it to the just length and breadth ; and lastly, it must be properly pressed.
The different processes in the manufacture of cloth, are (in Gloucestershire) as follow:
1. Scouring. When taken out of the packs, the wool is scoured in a liquor composed of three parts of clear water and one of urine, to which soap is added; it is then drained, washed in a running water, and dried.
2. Beating and Picking. It is beaten with rods.on hurdles of wood, or on ropes, to clear out the dust and grosser filth. After beating it is well picked; to clear the rest of the filth that has escaped the rods.
3. Oiling and Scribbling. When the cloth is oiled with the oil of olives, the best for this purpose,
it is zied to the seribbling-mill, which consists of a system of
cylinders coated with coarse cards (the wire for forming which is now cut and bent by a machine,) on the surface of which the wool being regularly transferred, at last comes out in one uniformly continued and coherent layer.
4. Carding and Spinning. It is now brought to the carding machine, which is like the scribbling machine, only composed of finer cards, except that to the last cylinder of cards a futed wooden cylinder is, adapted, which scrapes off the wool in thin rolls. The wool is spun for woof by a machine named a Jack, codsisting of from sixty to eighty spindles, worked by one person; the warp is slooped, or spun by a machine called a Billy, containing from sixty to eighty spindles worked by one person, and afterwards drawn finer by a machine termed a Jenny, containing from eighty to a hundred spindles, and also worked by one person; the yurn is then reeled and fit for the
5. Sizing. When warped it is stiffened with size, made of shreds of parchment; and when dry, is given to the weaver, who mounts it on the looin.
6. Wearing is now performed by a new-invented spring loom, worked by one person; the spring throws the shuttle backwards and forwards, and the weaver strikes the frame, in which is fastened the comb or reed, between whose teeth the threads of the warp are passed, repeating the stroke as often as is necessary; cloths in general only require two or three strokes, but soine require a greater number. The weaver having continued his work till the whole warp is filled with woof, the cloth is finished. It is taken off the loom, by unrolling it from the beam, on which it had been rolled, in proportion as it was woven.
7. Sigging. When the cloth is taken out of the loom it is sigged, or washed in the stock, which consists of pig's dung dissolved in urine and water,
8. Burling. The cloth is now dried and burled; that is, the straw, knots, threads, and other filth are picked out with a picker, or pair of small iron nippers; this oceasions a considerable number of apertures, which are all closed by the next process.
9. Milling. The cloth is now milled, or scoured with soap till it acquires a proper consistency, it is then passed again through the stock to clear it from the soap.
10. Rowing or Dressing. The teazle is used, in this process (in Gloucestershire), by a machine called a gig-mill, which smooths the cloth and raises the nap; but in some countries it is still done by the hand.
11. Shearing is performed by a machine. The shearman passes it over the cloth sometimes more than once; even five or six times, if the nap be not sufficiently cut, according to the substance of the cloth.
12. Dyeing. See that article.
13. Streaming. After the process of dyeing, the cloth is washed in a running stream. Black, blue, and green cloths are often sheared again, after they are taken off the tenters, but not scarlet and white, as those colours are apt to soil. . The shearman now hangs it on the tenters; where it is stretched both in length and breadth enough to smooth it, and bring it to its proper dimensions, without straining it too much ; observing to brush it the way of the hair, while yet a little moist on the tenter,
14. Pressing. When quite dry, the cloth is taken from the tenter and brushed with a machine called a brusher, * to finish the laying of the nap, it is then folded and laid under a press, to make it perfectly smooth and even, and to give it a little gloss. The gloss is given by laying a leaf of vellum or cap-paper in each plait of the piece, and over the whole a square plank of wood, on which, by means of a lever, the screw of a press is brought down with the degree of force which is judged necessary. The cloth is now fit for sale,
The processes of making cloth may differ somewhat in different counties. Within the last fifteen years machinery has been substituted for manual labour, and is now generally adopted. The processes we have described are those used at the manufactory of PAUL WATHEN, and Co. at Woodchester, in Gloucestershire. This is one of the largest in the county, and is styled the Royal Manufactory, it having been visited by his Majesty and the Royal Family in the year 1788. All the new machinery is used, and the finest cloths in England are made, at this manufactory. The shearing machine was introduced into this county from Yorkshire. About ten years since
* Fine cluths are never brushed.
disturbances were excited hy the introduction of this machine, and various acts of violence were committed by the shearmen. One of these infatuated people (aided, no doubt, by accomplices) having destroyed, in one night, nine pieces of cloth, by cutting them in the tenter-ground, a reward of six hundred guineas was offered for his apprehension; and he was soon afterwards taken, tried, and executed. Such an act of summary justice completely established the exercise of machinery in Gloucestershire. The number of persons employed in the manufactory at Woodchester, is generally from 1500 to 2000, including men, women, and children.
The principal clothing counties in England are Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somersetsbire, and Yorkshire. The first is chiefly celebrated for blacks, scarlets, and kersey
The second and third for blues and medleys, or mixtures, principally for home consuinption. Yorkshire is remarkable chiefly for coarse cloths for exportation. These cloths are brought in the rough to Huddersfield, Leeds, &c. and are sold to the clothiers, or merchants, as they are called, who dye and finish them according to order. Cloths, may be had in this county from the lowest to the highest prices.