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fiber of Merino wool that these cup like ridges were first discovered; but once recognized, it is very easy to detect them in the coarser sorts of fibers. ** Upon holding up to the light a lock of wool, or a single fiber, it is further observed that the fibers have all permanently acquired in their growth a form more or less twisted or spiral, like that of a corkscrew; and by the two characteristics thus discovered the felting and thread-forming qualities of wool, and the valuable applications growing out of them, are at once explained. The contorted form of the fibers disposes them to embrace or interlace with, or to hook on to each other; and the serratures, when the fibers are brought close together in felt, thread, or cloth, present that resistance to slipping and separation which is indispensable to the strength of the fabric. In the long Merino and Saxon wools these scales or projections are very distinct and acutely pointed; in the Southdown, somewhat less distinct and sharp; in the Leicester, at least the ordinary variety, quite rounded off and indistinct. In fine Saxon wool, 2,720 of these imbrications are found to the inch; in the ordinary Merino, 2,400; in the Australian Merino, 1,920 to 2,400; in Southdown, 2,000 to 2,080; in Leicester wool, 1,850 to 1,860. So far as this single quality is concerned, the results are in strict accordance with the known relative values of the several wools for manufacture; since the felting of Saxon wool is superior to that of all others, that of the Southdown inferior to that of both Saxon and ordinary Merino, and that of the Leicester least of all. Either the Southdown or Leicester wool, alone, makes a fuzzy, hairy cloth, and neither is now used in England except for the poorest cloths, or when largely admixed with wool of a better quality of fiber. Of two varieties of wool in which the number of the imbrications is about equal, that in which they are at once smaller and more uniform will be the softer and more elastic."


[From Ure's Dictionary.]

"In reference to textile fabrics, sheep's wool is of two different sorts, the short and the long-stapled; each of which requires different modes of manufacture in the preparation and spinning processes, as also in the treatment of the cloth after it is woven, to fit it for the market. Each of these is, moreover, distinguished in commerce by the names of fleece wools and dead wools, according as they have been shorn at the usual annual period from the living animal, or are cut from its skin after death. The latter are comparatively harsh, weak, and incapable of imbibing the dyeing principles, more especially if the sheep has died of some malignant distemper.

"The wool of the sheep has been surprisingly improved by its domestic culture. The mouflon (Ovis aries), the parent stock from which our sheep is undoubtedly derived, and which is still found in a wild state

upon the mountains of Sardinia, Corsica, Barbary, Greece, and Asia Minor, has a very short and coarse fleece, more like hair than wool. When this animal is brought under the fostering care of man, the rank fibers gradually disappear, while the soft wool round their roots, little conspicuous in the wild animal, becomes singularly developed. The male most speedily undergoes this change, and continues ever afterwards to possess far more power in modifying the fleece of the offspring than the female parent. The produce of a breed from a coarse-wooled ewe and a fine-wooled ram is of a mean quality between the two, but half-way nearer that of the sire. By coupling the female thus generated with such a male as the former, another improvement of one-halt will be obtained, affording a staple three-fourths finer than that of the grandam. By proceeding inversely, the wool would be as rapidly deteriorated. It is, therefore, a matter of the first consequence in wool husbandry to exclude from the flock all coarse-fleeced rams.

"Long wool is the produce of a peculiar variety of sheep, and varies in the length of its fibers from 3 to 8 inches. Such wool is not carded like cotton, but combed like flax, either by hand or appropriate machinery. Short wool is seldom longer than 3 or 4 inches; it is susceptible of carding and felting, by which processes the filaments become first convoluted, and then densly matted together. The shorter sorts of the combing wools are used principally for hosiery, though of late years the finer kinds have been extensively worked up into Merino and other useful fabrics. The longer wools of the Leicestershire breed are manufactured into hard yarns, for worsted pieces, such as waistcoats, carpets, bombazines, poplins, crapes, &c.

"The wool of which good broadcloth is made should be not only shorter, but, generally speaking, finer and softer than the worsted wools, in order to fit them for the fulling process. Some wool-sorters and woolstaplers acquire by practice great nicety of discernment in judging of wools by the touch and traction of the fingers.

"There are four distinct qualities of wool upon every sheep, the finest being upon the spine, from the neck to within 6 inches of the tail, including one-third of the breadth of the back; the second covers the flanks, between the thighs and the shoulders; the third clothes the neck and rump; and the fourth extends upon the lower part of the neck and breast down to the feet, as also upon a part of the shoulders and the thighs to the bottom of the hind quarter. These should be torn asunder, and sorted, immediately after the shearing.

"The harshness of wools is dependent not solely upon the breed of the animal, or the climate, but is owing to certain peculiarities in the pasture derived from the soil. It is known that in sheep fed upon chalky districts wool is apt to get coarse; but in those upon a rich loamy soil it becomes soft and silky. The ardent sun of Spain renders the fleece of the Merino breed harsher than it is in the milder climate of Sax

ony. Smearing sheep with a mixture of tar and butter is deemed favorable to the softness of the wool.

"All wool, in its natural state, contains a quantity of a peculiar potash soap, secreted by the animal, called in this country the yolk (which possesses a peculiar odor), and which may be washed out by water alone, with which it forms a sort of lather. It constitutes from 25 to 50 per cent. of the wool, being most abundant in the Merino breed of sheep; and however favorable to the growth of the wool on the living animal, should be taken out soon after it is shorn, lest it injure the fibers by fermentation and cause them to become hard and brittle. After being washed in water, somewhat more than lukewarm, the wool should be well pressed and carefully dried."

[From McCulloch's Commercial Dictionary, vol. 2, ed. 1845.]

"It has been customary in this country to divide wool into two great classes-long and short wools; and these again into subordinate classes, according to the fineness of the fiber.

"Short wool is used in the cloth manufacture, and is therefore frequently called clothing wool. It may vary in length from 1 to 3 or 4 inches; if it be longer, it requires to be cut or broken to prepare it for the manufacture.

"The felting property of wool is known to every one. The process of hat-making, for example, depends entirely upon it. The wool of which hats are made is neither spun nor woven, but locks of it, being thoroughly intermixed and compressed in warm water, cohere and form a solid tenacious substance.

"Cloth and woolen goods are made from wool possessing this property; the wool is carded, spun, woven, and then, being put into the fulling mill, the process of felting takes place. The strokes of the mill make the fibers cohere; the piece subjected to the operation contracts in length and breadth, and its texture becomes more compact and uniform. This process is essential to the beauty and strength of woolen cloth. But the long wool of which stuffs and worsted goods are made is deprived of its felting properties. This is done by passing the wool through heated iron combs, which takes away the laminae or feathery part of the wool, and approximates it to the nature of silk or cotton.

"Long or combing wool may vary in length from 3 to 8 inches. The shorter combing wools are principally used for hose, and are spun softer than the long combing wools, the former being made into which is called hard, and the latter into soft worsted yarn.

"The fineness of the hair or fiber can rarely be estimated, at least for any useful purpose, except by the wool sorter or dealer, accustomed by long habit to discern those minute differences that are quite inappreci able by common observers. In sorting wools there are frequently eight or ten different species in a single fleece; and if the best wool of one fleece be not equal to the finest sort it is thrown to a second, third, or

fourth, or to a still lower sort, of an equal degree of fineness with it. The best English short native fleeces, such as the fine Norfolk and Southdown, are generally divided by the worsted-sorter into the following sorts, all varying in fineness from each other, viz: 1, prime; 2, choice; 3, super; 4, head; 5, downrights; 6, seconds; 7, tine abb; 9, livery; 10, short coarse or breech wool. The relative value of each varies according to the greater demand for coarse, fine, or middle cloths.

"The softness of the fiber is a quality of great importance. It is not dependent on the fineness of the fiber, and consists of a peculiar feel approaching to that of silk or down. The difference in the value of two pieces of cloth made of two kinds of wool equally fine, but one distinguished for its softness and the other for the opposite quality, is such, that with the same process and expense of manufacture the one will be worth from 20 to 25 per cent. more than the other. The degree of softness depends principally on the nature of the soil on which sheep are fed; that sheep pastured on chalk districts, or light calcareous soils, usually produce hard wool; while the wool of those that are pastured on rich loamy, argillaceous soils, is always distinguished by its softness. Of the foreign wools the Saxon is generally softer than the Spanish. Hard wools are all defective in their felting properties.

"In clothing wool the color of the fleece should always approach as much as possible to the purest white, because such wool is not only necessary for cloths dressed white, but for all cloths that are to be dyed bright colors, for which a clear white ground is required to give a due degree of richness and luster. Some of the English fine wooled sheep, as the Norfolk and Southdown, have black or gray faces and legs. In all such sheep there is a tendency to grow gray wool on some part of the body, or to produce some gray fibers intermixed with the fleece, which renders the wool unfit for many kinds of white goods; for though the black hairs may be too few and minute to be detected by the wool-sorter, yet when the cloth is stoved they become visible, forming reddish spots, by which its color is much injured. The Herefordshire sheep, which have white faces, are entirely free from this defect, and yield a fleece without any admixture of gray hairs.

"The cleanness of the wool is an important consideration. The Spanish wool, for example, is always scoured after it is shorn; whereas the English wool is only imperfectly washed on the sheep previously to its being shorn. In consequence, it is said that while a pack of English clothing wool of 240 pounds weight will waste about 70 pounds in the manufacture, the same quantity of Spanish will not waste more than 48 pounds. Cleanness, therefore, is an object of much importance to the buyer.

"Before the recent improvements in the spinning of wool by machinery, great length and strength of staple was considered indispensable 5402 W-2

in most combing wools. The fleeces of the long-wooled sheep fed in the rich marshes of Kent and Lincoln used to be reckoned peculiarly suitable for the purposes of the wool-comber; but the improvements alluded to have effected a very great change in this respect, and have enabled the manufacturer to substitute short wool of 3 inches staple, in the place of long combing wool, in the preparation of most worsted articles. A great alteration has, in consequence, taken place in the proportion of long to short wool since 1800, there having been in the interim a considerable increase in the quantity of the latter.

"Whiteness of fleece is of less importance in the long combing than in clothing wool, provided it be free from gray hairs. Sometimes, however, the fleece has a dingy brown color, called a winter stain, which is a sure indication that the wool is not in a thoroughly sound state. Such fleeces are carefully thrown out by the wool-sorter, being suitable only for goods that are to be dyed black. The fineness of heavy combing wool is not of so much consequence as its other qualities.

"The Merino or Spanish breed of sheep was introduced into this country about the close of last century. George III was a great patron of this breed, which was for several years a very great favorite. But it has been ascertained that, though the fleece, does not much degenerate here, the carcass, which is naturally ill-formed, and affords comparatively little weight of meat, does not improve; and as the farmer, in the kind of sheep which he keeps, must look not only to the produce of wool, but also to the butcher market, he has found it his interest rather to return to the native breeds of his own country, and to give up the Spanish sheep. They have, however, been of considerable service to the flocks of England, having been judiciously crossed with the Southdown, Ryeland, &c."


[From Chambers Encyclopedia.]

"As long-stapled wools are used for worsted goods, and short-stapled for woolen goods, the various breeds which yield these two leading kinds are naturally divided into the long-wooled and short-wooled classes of sheep. The Lincoln, the Leicester, and the Cotswold breeds are con. sidered good types of the former, and the Down, the Welsh, and the Shetland breeds, of the latter.

"The following brief notice of the characteristic properties of the various native wools is founded upon the description given of them in the jury report of the International Exhibition of 1862, Class IV.

"Of the 'long wools' the Lincoln has greatly risen in value of late years. It is coarse, of great length, and silky in appearance, so that it is well adapted for 'luster' goods, in imitation of alpaca fabrics. Leicester wool is highly esteemed for combing. It is rather finer in the

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