Henry Harrisse.

Britain at work; a pictorial description of our national industries online

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into " sorts," the best of the fleece being
thrown into one basket, the skirtings i.e.
the parts about the neck and legs of the
sheep into another, and so on. But there
are many different classes of wool. The long
and lustrous staple of the pure Lincoln breed
differs from the short, dull, soft South Down


as the coat of a polar bear does from that of
a chinchilla. The pure merino fleece from
the Riverina of New South Wales differs
almost as widely from the strong Leicester
cross-bred from New Zealand. Each class
and there are many intermediate grades
has characteristics which render it suitable
for most varied purposes. The wool which is
used for the Union Jack at the
ship s masthead would never do for
an infant s christening robe or the
green cloth of a billiard table.
Hence there is very little admixture
of classes, the object of sorting being
to separate the qualities. There is,
however, a very broad division made
between combing and carding wools.
A lady in combing her hair holds
a portion of it in one hand, holding
the comb in the other. \Vool which
is too short to be held by the " nip"
of the combing machine must be
carded. This dividing line closely
corresponds with that which separ
ates the worsted and the woollen
manufactures. \Vorsted goods are
made from the long or combed
wool, woollens from the short and
carded wools.

When the sorting has been done
the wool goes to the comber. It



must first be scoured. All unwashed fleeces
carry a considerable amount of the yolk
or natural grease of the animal, and some
Australian and South American wools
contain as much as 60 per cent, of sand,
dirt, and grease. The washing is effected
by machinery in what is called a " bowl,"
though it bears no resemblance to that
useful domestic vessel. The washbowl is a
long, deep iron trough, in which the wool
is immersed in a bath or " sud " of hot water

to be combed or carded, as the case
may be.

The combing machine is one of the
marvels of mechanical invention, and it has
several forms, but the type which has finally
been adopted in this country is known as the
great circle comb. It consists of a large brass
ring, about four feet in diameter, in which the
steel pins of the comb are set in concentric
circles, the strongest teeth on the outer ring,
the finest on the inner, there being usuallv

and soap, being slowly passed from one end
of the trough to the other by a series of
reciprocating brass forks. The bowl has a
false bottom, into which the sand and dirt
settle by gravity. On emerging from the
end of the bowl the wool is squeezed
between rollers, and usually at once passes
into a second bowl, where, of course, the
water is cleaner, and often into a third
and even a fourth. When it finally emerges
it is pure and almost snow-white, though
still carrying many grass seeds, burrs, and
other entanglements. After drying by
subjection in a closed chamber to the
action of a stream of hot air, during which
time it is being constantly tossed like
the grass in a hay field, the wool is ready


four or five such rings. The pins or teeth of
the comb, which revolves horizontally and
very slowly, are heated, and by an ingenious
arrangement of fluted rollers the wool is
gradually drawn through the teeth of the
comb from the outside, coming away from
the inner edge absolutely free from impurities
and with every fibre laid parallel with its
neighbour. The shortest of the wool is left
behind, and is automatically picked out of
the teeth of the comb before it receives a
fresh supply of wool. This short stuff is
called the noil, and the combed wool which
comes off in a continuous rope is coiled
up into a ball or "top." The top-maker,
then, is one who buys wool, sends it to
be washed and combed, and then sells the



product to the spinner, for whom it is now

Spinning, the conversion of wool into a
twisted thread or yarn, is accomplished in two
different ways either by the spinning frame
or jenny, as it was once called, or by the self-
acting mule. The latter is used only for very
short fibres, such as cotton or the shortest
wools ; and wool spun on the mule is called a
woollen yarn, whereas that spun on the frame
is a worsted yarn, and each has a character
of its own. In worsted spinning the thick

spindle on the frame having its own train of
rollers. The full roving bobbins are placed
upon pegs above the rollers, and a small
bobbin or spool is put on to the spinning
spindle. When the machine is started, the
roving passes between the revolving rollers
and is finally drawn out or " draughted " to
the required fineness, and then the rapid
revolution of the spindle gives the fibres a
twist or spin, converting what was merely
a few parallel fibres into a strong thread or
yarn. As the process of spinning goes on,


rope of combed top is first reduced in thick
ness and correspondingly increased in length
by being passed through a set of drawing
machines. These draw out the staple by the
simple device of passing it between pairs of
fluted rollers, each successive pair running
at a higher speed than the last, so that it
emerges as a thin thread, but still with no
more twist in it than will just serve to hold
it together. In this form it is wound on to
large wood bobbins, and it is then known as
a roving.

The spinning frame consists of a row of
several hundred spindles, all revolving at
one uniformly high speed, and a correspond
ing set of rollers, partly of fluted steel and
partly of wood covered with leather, each

the yarn is wound on to the small bobbin on
the spindle, and when all the bobbins are
filled the machine is stopped and a gang of
little boys and girls quickly change the full
bobbins for empty ones, the threads are all
given a deft initial turn on the empty bobbins,
and the machine is again ready to be started
There is no more fascinating sight than
to watch a gang of " d offers " go through
these evolutions.

In woollen spinning the shortness of the
fibre necessitates a somewhat different pre
liminary method for obtaining the roving, and
the spinning is accomplished without any
" draught." On the mule the spindles are
not fixed, but are carried on a long carriage,
which can be run out from the stationary




part of the frame upon which the roving
bobbins are placed for a distance of six or
seven feet. When the machine is started
the carriage is run out, each spindle drawing
after it a length of the roving. Then, when
the carriage has reached the limit of its
traverse, the spindles, revolving with great
rapidity for a few seconds, impart the twist
or spin to the whole length of thread which
has been run out, and at the instant when the
required spin has been obtained they stop,
the carriage runs back to its former place,
the bobbins on the spindle winding up the
spun yarn as the carriage returns. Then, of
course, the cycle of operations is repeated.

It will thus be gathered that in worsted
spinning the operation is a continuous one,
whereas in mule spinning it is intermittent.
The one produces a smooth, round, regular
yarn of great strength, all the fibres of which
are carefully twisted parallel to one another ;
the other a yarn which has the fibres mixed
up in an irregular fashion, with their ends
sticking out like the hairs of a caterpillar, but,
for this very reason, giving a yarn of much
softer " handle." It is this vital difference in
the method of spinning and in the result
attained which constitutes the main distinc
tion between a worsted cloth, such as a serge
or corkscrew, and a woollen cloth, such as a
Melton or Amazon.

It was the introduction of the power-loom,


scarcely more than a century ago, that led
to the riotous assemblies and mill burnings
so vividly depicted by Charlotte Bronte in
" Shirley, and more prosaically recorded
by man} less-known local historians. In
principle, however, even the most elaborate
loom of to-day differs but little from the
simplest form of the loom used by Egyptians
4,000 years ago. It is only, after all, an
apparatus for crossing threads under and over
one another alternately, and so binding them
that they shall not come loose again. Those
threads which run through the whole length
of the piece constitute the warp, those that
cross it the weft. The warp threads are
maintained in a state of tension, and when one
half of them are lifted clear of the rest by an
automatic arrangement, the bobbin of weft
contained in the shuttle is thrown across and
between them. Then the position of the
warp threads is reversed, the shuttle with the
weft is thrown back again, and so the process
goes on until the piece is finished.

Pattern, or design, is obtained by varying
the number of warp threads which are lifted
at each " pick " of the shuttle, by changing
the character or colour of the weft, and by
a multitude of other devices which are too
technical for description here. Fabrics in
which the pattern is obtained by the use of
coloured threads or by the admixture of silk
threads are known as " fancies," those which



are woven and subsequently dyed as " plains,"
though the design may vary widely. But
whether plain or fancy, light or heavy, wide
or narrow, all cloth must after weaving be
subjected to a variety of operations all com
prehended in the useful term " finishing." It
must be cleansed from all impurities, it will
be steamed, scoured, milled, shrunk, stretched,
raised, cropped, singed, pressed, and finally
rolled into the perfect web ready for the
merchant s warehouse or the draper s counter.
The " finish " which it is desired to impart
determines the way in which the cloth shall
be treated after it leaves the loom of the
manufacturer, and no two kinds of material
are dealt with in exactly the same way.
Technical education, the improved taste of

the people, and the development of invention
have brought about an immense improvement
in the variety and beauty of wool textiles ;
and the Education laws, by raising- the age
at which children may work in factories,
are silently working an economic revolution
which is regarded with some apprehension.
For the spinning mill child labour is held to
be essential, very much of the weaving is done
by women, and in both these departments
there is of late a marked decline in the
numbers employed, while there is no compen
sating increase in the employment of adult
hands. There is consequently a fair field for
the ingenuity of the inventor who will aim at
making the spinning machinery and the loom
automatic in their action.


Tin- illustrations accompanying this article are from photographs specially taken for the purpose at
Messrs. /<)//;/ Poster and Son s manufactory, Bradford.




(Photo : J-. S Kaktr & Son, Birn>i/iai. By permission of the Maypole Dairy Company.)


LIKE many other of our national in
dustries, dairy-farming suffers from a
keen foreign competition. A vast quantity
of butter is imported into this country,
but in spite of this fact it is stated that
considerably more than 100,000 tons of butter
are made annually in the British Isles.

Butter making has, of course, a depart
ment by itself in the conduct of a dairy-

farm. It is probable that an abstract
knowledge of the work is pretty general, but
as many ingenious appliances have been
introduced into the industry, a brief account
of the various processes of manufacture
should be of interest. The description herein
presented is that of a system in operation
on a large farm, which is the centre of an
extensive area of distribution. It may there-



fore serve, generally, as a type of the mam-
other similar establishments to be found in
the British Isles, and which are all conducted

m ore or
less on the
same lines.
m a k i n g
does not
require so
much work
or detail as
Most dairy -
f a r m e r s




make a speciality
of one particular
branch of the in
dustry : with one
it may be cheese,
with another milk,
and so on. But
all, without ex
ception, make
butter, either on
a large or a small

scale. In the case of cheese makers and
milk dealers and suppliers, it is the super
fluous milk which is converted into butter.
A large tank is kept for the reception of
this, which is subsequently carried away
through pipes to a warm chamber below, in
which the temperature is slightly higher than
that of the milk when it comes from the cow.
It then passes through a refrigerator into a
separator, the skim escaping on one side, and
the cream through a tap on the other. The
former is forced up again into another tank,
and being too poor for any other purpose
is sold to bakers, who use it in making

The cream is caught in pails, which are
stood in a bath of cold water for the space
of twenty-four hours for the cream to " ripen."
It is then turned into a wooden churn,

when in twenty minutes it is thick enough to
be taken out on small wooden bats, placed in
a tub, washed, and put upon the revolving
butter-worker. The latter is a large wooden
contrivance, propelled by machinery, and an
idea of its character may be gathered from
our illustration. The butter is placed on
a circular table, sloping outwards, and with
radiating corrugations ; immediately above
this is a protruding cone of wood, also
corrugated. The two work in opposite
directions, and the butter between them is
effectively " worked." When this is com
plete it is ready to be packed in whatever
form it is required. Where a quick distribu-

t i o n takes
place, it is
i m mediately
clone up into
i-lb. and 2-lb.
p a c k a g e s.
Erom the be
ginning to the
end the ma
terial is never
once touched
by hand.

The above
remarks apply

to the best
class of
There are,
of course,
m a d e
s u c h a s
which cer
tain pro
cesses of
salting and

colouring enter largely into the manufacture.
Cheshire is the heart of our cheese-making
industry. Although cheese is produced in
various forms, the bulk of that consumed


(Photos specially taken at the Aylfsbury Dairy
Com f any s Chief Dairy}.



consists of four different kinds, namely,
Cheshire, Cheddar, Gloucester, and Stilton.
Of these, the first two are by far the most
popular, judged from the amount consumed.
It will be noticed that all these cheeses derive
their names from the county or district in
which they are made. The first and third
speak for themselves, and are comprehensively
christened ; the second is named after a village,
Cheddar, in Somersetshire ; and
the last is from Stilton, in Hunting
donshire. Although all these places
can claim to have initiated their
respective dietary industry, a large

cheese. Dexterous handling of ingredients
and implements is, of course, an important
factor, but the question of temperature
appears to have a considerable bearing
upon the subject, though experts differ on
the point. Farmers have been known
to produce good cheese under conditions,
so far as temperature is concerned, in direct
contradiction to all recognised and accepted


quantity of cheese is imported into this
country, placed on the market and sold in
the name of the home-made article. A great
deal of the cheese which is consumed in
Great Britain as Cheddar or Cheshire is
nothing of the kind, if locality counts for
anything, but comes from America, Aus
tralia, or New Zealand. Of course, the
process of manufacture may be imitated, but
there is such a knack a mysterious, intan
gible kind of skill in cheese making that
one might justifiably question the capacity
of the imitator. Even experienced British
dairy-farmers are at a loss to adequately
explain what is the precise nature of the
agency which conduces to a thoroughly good

notions on the subject. But they could not
explain how their success came about.

The principal processes of cheese making
are much the same all through, but for the
purposes of illustration we will take the
production of a Cheshire cheese, at Lea Hall
Farm, Aldford.

Here we have a typical Cheshire dairy-farm.
Everything about the place is scrupulously
clean. We follow a consignment of milk
into an apartment which contains a long
cheese-vat on wheels. The vat is metal-
lined, and there is a hollow space all round,
between the outside casing and the recep
tacle, which holds the milk. This is a
hot- water chamber, used only in the cold



weather. At the end is a bright metal
union, attached to which are pipes run
ning off right and left, one passing through
a division wall into another apartment. A
metal strainer is fixed on to the side of the
vat, through which the milk is poured. Two
kinds of milk are used the perfectly
sweet, and that which is " on the turn,"
the latter being added for the purpose of
creating acidity and aiding in the ripening
of the cheese. All the milk having been
poured in, rennet and colouring are intro
duced. The former is measured in a
graduated glass, and five ounces are used
to 170 gallons of milk. The colouring is
a dark-brown vegetable solution, and one
and a half ounces are used in the same
quantity of milk. The use of this ingredient
in no way affects the flavour of the cheese,
nor improves it beyond adding the yellowish
hue familiar to most people. Vet without
it, or should the colour be too deep, the
cheese would be rendered comparatively
valueless, or, at all events, considerably
reduced in value.

The rennet causes the milk to coagulate,
and then ensues a process of separation, the
curd settling at the bottom and the whey
rising to the top. If the cheese is intended
to be kept any length of time, the vat will be

kept heated to 90" or 94. If it is for quick-
sale, and this generally happens in the cold
weather, the temperature is reduced to, say,
85. Periodically it is stirred up for half
an hour at a time, and when the " setting
together " takes place, it is broken with a
cutter an implement consisting of a series
of long narrow blades for half an hour.
In a few hours from the pouring in of
the milk, the whey is run off, disclosing the
curd in a close layer at the bottom. It is
then cut up into blocks or slabs, and sub
sequently broken up as small as possible with
the hands. Salt, which acts as a preservative,
is next thrown upon it, to the extent of
\ Ib. of salt to 20 Ib. of curd. Einally, the
curd is passed through a machine fitted
with two rollers, in which are rows of
metal teeth. This breaks the curd up into
very small pieces, which are then placed
in circular perforated metal jars, each one
representing a cheese, and set near a
fire, or in a cheese oven, to preserve the
temperature. After a few hours of this treat
ment, during which the metal jars have been
occasionally reversed in position, the curd
is put into the presses. The material is
placed in a small wooden hooped barrel,
lined with a cheese-cloth, and fastened at
the top with a tin fillet. The weight brought


(rhoto: It. S. Hater & Son, Birmingham. By permission nf the Maypole Dairy Company.)

I hotos : Cat sell & d







to bear upon it is increased each day, till it
finally reaches about half a ton. In four or
five days the cheese is turned out.

From the presses the cheese is taken to a
lift and carried to a store-room above, where
it is laid out on the floor upon a bed of
straw. In about a week from the time the
making begins, the cheese is sometimes
in the hands of the consumers. The
factor visits a farm, and thrusting his tester
into the various cheeses, decides on their
fitness for the markets. If the surface is
rough, it is ripe and good ; if, however, it
presents a smooth appearance, like a piece
of yellow soap, it is too fresh, and must be
kept a little longer, the work of ripening
not having been sufficiently well done. It
depends entirely on the application of acidity
as to how long it must or may be kept.

But let us return for a moment to the
whey. It passes through a pipe from the
vat to a slate-lined tank in the floor of
the adjoining chamber. The virtue in it is
converted into butter, and the residue or
waste is pumped, by means of steam power,
a considerable distance to the piggery, where
it forms a delectable item of diet for the
porcine population. It requires very careful
handling to produce good butter from whey,
and only the experienced and most skilful
of dairy folk are entrusted with the work.

The cheese which is easiest of digestion is
that which is old, dry, and crumbling, but it
is not by any means a marketable article.
The most difficult to digest is that which is
new and "close." Green
in Cheshire cheese is
not desirable, although
it is in Gorgonzola and
Stilton. In the case of
the last - named the
rotting is encouraged
by means of acidity, and
by thrusting into it
bras s a n d copper
skewers. In the making
of it the curd is not
broken up ; nor, of
course, is any colouring-
used. There are large
cheeses made without

colouring, but farmers CORNER IN STORE-

prefer making the other TESTING

noto : CassfU & Co , /./,; .

kind, for the sufficient reason that the}- are
more marketable.

It is estimated that from 1 30,000 to 140,000
tons of cheese are made in the British Isles
in a year, and 105,000 tons of butter. The
imports amount to over 126,000 tons a year.
The yearly imports of butter and margarine
are more than 200,000 tons. The busiest
month for cheese making is May.

A great deal of butter is made in the
south-west of England, and also in Ireland.
At Cappamore, in Ireland, it is not at all
unusual for as many as a hundred farmers
to send their milk to one dairy, and it is a
pretty sight to see the
milk being brought in.
The carts, drawn by
donkeys, are driven by
peasant boys and girls,
often without shoes or
stockings. The pro
cession of carts is some
times a mile long. The
milk is delivered at one
side of the dairy ar.d
then weighed, and the
cart goes round to the
other side to take away
separated or skimmed
" UJ . milk, which is used for
ROOM. A FACTOR feeding calves.




IX the whole range of the industries few
things are more arresting- than the trans
formations wrought in the process of
making paper. The thought of dirty, unsightly
ra-s the mere refuse of another industrv, being

o *

converted into paper smoother than cream,
and almost as white as driven snow, is more
marvellous than a good many fairy stories.
But even more wonderful is it to think

supplies of this material also began to show
signs of exhaustion ; and both in Spain and
in Algiers the Governments felt it necessary
to carry out investigations with a view to
preventing its undue exploitation. As the
years sped by, and the demand for a cheap
press continued to grow more urgent, manu
facturers were forced to cast about for
something less costly than esparto ; and in


of anything so frail and unsubstantial as
paper being made out of hard, solid wood.
Yet such is the fact : the sheets which to-day
we see being delivered in the form of huge
rolls at the newspaper offices in the neighbour
hood of Fleet Street, and which to-morrow
morning we shall find on our breakfast tables,
were but a fe\v weeks ago growing as timber
in the forests of Norway or of Canada!

The supply of rags is, of course, not illimit
able, and as the activity of the printing press
increased, about the mjcldle of the nineteenth
century, manufacturers were glad to supple
ment it with esparto grass from Spain and
from Northern Africa. Before loner the

Online LibraryHenry HarrisseBritain at work; a pictorial description of our national industries → online text (page 14 of 39)