Henry Harrisse.

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

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a fourth part was grown in Greater

The coffee fruit resembles a cherry in
appearance, and within the yellowish pulp
there are two seeds, enclosed in a tough
membrane called the parchment. The pulp
ing of the fruit is usually performed upon
the plantation, and a large quantity of the
berry is imported in a form from which the
parchment has been already removed. It is
found, however, that the value of the coffee



is increased by bringing it into the market
with the protective parchment envelope, and
the first operation, which, as with tea, is
carried out in the bonded warehouse, consists
in the removal of the parchment. This is
known as husking, and the machine em
ployed nips the horny substance of the skin
and drags it away, exposing the two seeds
to a blast of air which carries off the lighter
husk, as wheat is winnowed from its chaff.
This coffee husk is used as a manure,

and it is upon the
cleaned or husked
berry that the duty is

The next operation
consists in bulking
the berry and throw
ing it into a hopper,
where it is sifted into
bags, and the better
sorts arc laboriously
picked over by girls,
who are shown at
work in one of our



These sit at tables whereon a closed box
with a tiny trapdoor permits a stream of
berries to oo/.e out, at a rate which enables
each to be passed under inspection. By this
means inferior berries, fragments of stalk,
and the like are picked out by hand. The
term "berry" is applied to those seeds in
which the two parts are joined together into
one round seed, like a peppercorn ; the more
usual form is known as the " bean."

In this state coffee beans may be stored
for years without injury to their qualities ;
indeed, for several years the essential principles
of the coffee are improved by keeping,

by each grocer, or even by each house
holder. But there is a great advantage in
the regularity and uniformity of torrefaction
which the experienced overseer of a steam
roasting machine is able to furnish, and the
bulk of " French " coffee sold in Fngland
is manipulated in the following way. Sugar
is added to the coffee during the process of
roasting, with the result that the berry is
coated with a glistening film of black, mixed

although there is a loss of weight. For this
reason it is customary to pass the beans as
rapidly as possible into consumption, and
the destination of the bags or casks after
being cleared from the Custom House is
the roasting factory.

The process of roasting introduces an
element of skill and judgment such as is
not demanded at any stage in the preparation
of tea. The object of roasting is to liberate
certain gaseous elements, and to develop the
aromatic virtues contained in the essential
oil, besides bringing the active alkaloid
principle into a form suitable for easy
infusion. French coffee, which is a more
or less cunning mixture of coffee with a
large proportion of chicory, is, in France,
usually roasted by hand over the open fire

o: Cassclt & Co., Ltd.


with chicory, ground, and forthwith
packed in tins ; it is then read} 7 for the

The older roasting apparatus, which is still
to be preferred for the finest results, consists
of a malleable iron cylinder revolving over
a coke fire, and with wire gauxe ends through
which the liberated gases escape. The beans
are poured into the interior of the cylinder,
and bv an ingenious arrangement of eccentric
bearings the coffee is thrown about from side
to side of the cylinder, in order to secure
a thorough roasting of the whole. The result
is that the bean loses in weight and increases
in bulk, and the fragments of the epidermis
remaining upon the surface of the bean are
burnt off, leaving it smooth and clean and
brown. Too great haste in the roasting, or
a few degrees of heat too much, will char the


bean and spoil its flavour, so that the task
of watching the roast for the slightest hint
of excess of heat is an anxious one. The
roaster, who is a well-paid operative, is
able to follow the progress of the torrefaction
by means of a sampling scoop which pene
trates into the interior of the cylinder, and
may be withdrawn from moment to moment
without hindering the revolution of the
machine. The temperature developed is
about 250 C., and the roast is completed in
a quarter of an hour. Each roast deals with


Photo : Ca
& Co., Lid.

about \ 1 2 cwt., so that a roaster is able to
turn out 4 or 5 cwt. per hour.

A quicker method adopts a gas flame,
whose combustion is perfected by an air
blast on the principle of the Bun sen burner.
The beans rotate in the open cylinder, and
as they reach the upper surface of it they
fall through the flame, but it is claimed that
the fall is so rapid that they are in no
danger of scorching. The advantage of this
quick roasting process is that it deals with
double the quantity in the same space of
time, and it is employed for the cheaper
descriptions of coffee.

By whatever means the roasting has been
performed, the next operation is that of

cooling. For this purpose the beans are
overturned into a tray with a woven wire
bottom, through which air is forced, cither
by means of a rotary fan or by a direct blast
The cooling occupies a few minutes, and the
beans are then ready to be packed without
delay for distribution to the retail grocer.

The operation of grinding needs no detailed
comment. It is performed by boys or girls
as the case may be, and it is at this stage
that the blend is made, because each sort of
coffee requires its own speed and temperature
in the roasting, so that it cannot be properly
treated when mixed with another kind.
Some sorts of coffee are not self-drinking,
and require an admixture of other growths
to bring out their qualities in an agreeable
form. But it is very usual for a grocer to
make his own mixture, according to the
tastes of his constituency. The photo
graphs illustrating the treatment of coffee
have been specially taken for this article,
by his courteous permission, at Mr. William
Field s steam coffee mills in Southwark.

The adulteration of coffee exercised the
wit of the Legislature in the early years
of George I., the substances most com
monly used being roasted peas and
turnips. In 1820 chicory was first intro
duced into the country, and after many
vicissitudes it is now recognised as a
proper substance for admixture with
coffee, provided the label upon the package
clearly states that chicory is present. The
bulk of the chicory used in England is
imported from Belgium, although there is
a large area under chicory cultivation
in Yorkshire. With practically the same
rate of duty, the amount realised by the
revenue from the consumption of chicory in
1901 was ,56,052, or one-third of the coffee
duty. Chicory is kiln-dried and passed
through a machine which cuts it into dice ;
it is afterwards roasted and ground in the
same way as coffee. It is found that
stone mills are better than steel ones for
grinding mixtures of coffee and chicory,
because the bruising of the coffee bean
caused by the stone develops an aroma
which is absorbed by the chicory grains,
with the result that there is a greater uni
formity of taste and appearance when this
process is employed. E _ Q> HARMER-


MACHINE industry has stimulated varia
tion in the carpet trade during the
past half-century, and it would be rash
to state a positive limit to the kinds of carpet
produced in Great Britain. Only six distinct
kinds of carpet, however, are largely pro
duced. These are Brussels and Wilton,
Axminster, patent Axminster, Kidder
minster, tapestry, and felted carpets.

With the exception of the Kidder
minster and felted varieties, all carpets
are woven of wool and linen or jute.
The mode of preparing these materials
for weaving is, up to a certain point,
precisely the same for all. The wool
is sorted, scoured, spun, and reeled into
hanks. Similarly the linen or jute
foundation of the carpet is spun into
yarn and reeled on to large bobbins.
After this the treatment of the wool for
the different varieties of carpet is so
diverse that each process must be de
scribed separately. We can go further,
however, in the general treatment of
the jute. The bobbins are placed in
high creels or frames, one on each side
of a bare beam. From each of the
bobbins a thread is led round this beam,
and then by a mechanical movement all
the yarn is wound on to the beam.
Next, this beam of yarn, or warp as it ]
is called, goes into the dressing room.
The warped beam is laid on the end
of a long vat filled with boiling stuff of a
starchy nature, in which cylinders roll and
churn. Through this vat the linen warp is
led, and wound on to a beam at the other
side. Again the warp is unwound, this time
to pass through heated cylinders, and returns
to the weaving beam grey and glossy. Part
of the linen yarn is reserved for another pur
pose. The dressed yarn is hanked, and then
sent to the yarn-winding machines. Stretched
round a wooden frame extended horizontally
along the back of the long winding frame, the
threads of the hanks are run through little
eyelets and on to a long spool that twirls with
the motion of the machine. Round go the

swifts, reeling off the thread, and the while
the spools are filled. Linen warp and linen
weft are now prepared, and the process is the
same for all kinds of tufted, looped, and
pile carpets. At this point difference begins.
For the sake of clearness we will first



describe one process at once, viz. the manu
facture of Brussels carpets.

Carpet manufacturers make their own
designs. The designing room is usually a
well-lighted, spacious apartment, closely re
sembling an art school, with easels and drawing
desks disposed all over the room. Leading
designers work out their ideas with the aid of
models : one here is studying the graceful
contour of an antique vase ; another has in
his left hand a bunch of fresh flowers, while
with his right he tries to reproduce their
beaut\ . Some are working with charcoal,
others paint from a full palette. From the



It I



chief designers the sketches are taken to the
copyists, who paint them on to pointed paper
for the use of the colourists and weavers.
This brings to view an important limitation
of the carpet-maker s art. He works with a
thick thread, and no line of colour, no diversity
of shade, can be smaller than the square of the
thickness of the worsted. The pointed paper
is ruled in squares equal in size to the thick
ness of the doubled thread.

While the designs have been prepared the
wool has been undergoing treatment. From
the stores on the ground floor the worsted
yarn, yellowish and oily, is taken to the
scouring room and plunged through a series
of baths ranged in long succession first a bath
of alkaline solution, next soapsuds, next
clear cold water. Swished round and round
by long forks, the wool is borne automatically
from one bath to the other, then passed
between two heavy press rollers. Dried in
steam-heated stoves, the yarn is prepared for
the dyer, who has already mixed the dye in
the troughs. He hangs the hanks on the
churning frames in the troughs, and leaves
them till the worsted is permeated with the
colour. Again the yarn is dried, and next it
goes to the winders, whose machines are very
similar to those we saw winding the spools
for the weavers shuttles. Wound on to

spools, the yarn is stored in the colourists
department. Hither comes the colourist with
the design in his hand, and he carefully selects
the colours suited to the pattern from his stock
of yarns.

The yarns selected are sent to the frame-
setting room. Girls receive the spools, and
lay them thread by thread across long frames,
stretching the yarns from end to end of the
frames. Every colour appearing in the
Brussels carpet must be represented by at
least one thread the full length of the warp,
for the whole carpet is of one thickness, and
it is the warp that gives it body. The threads
of the warp appearing on the surface were
formerly selected by a draw-boy, taught to
pull certain strings looped round each thread ;
but the Jacquard apparatus has superseded
the draw-boy, and given to the operation an
accuracy and facility very wonderful. By a
special process the Jacquard cards are prepared
for their function, being perforated in curious
fashion. The frames are laid behind the
loom two frames, four frames, or six frames,
according to the size and weight of carpet to
be woven. From above the loom depend
many wires, and attached to them are loops
which are passed round the threads on the
frames. The cards are hung beside the upper
ends of the wires. Linen warp, beam, and



shuttle are in their places. Away goes the
loom. Driven by quick strokes from the
handle, the shuttle flies to and fro, the
linen warp parts solidly to let the shuttle
knot its threads ; but only a few threads
of the worsted lift. This is the act of
the cards above. Only those wires the ends
of which enter a perforation in the card can
act, for the others are held out of gear.
Every successive card selects the requisite
threads of the warp and calls them to the
surface. Between linen and worsted warps
long steel wires are inserted, looping up the
worsted brought to the surface. The shuttle
goes forward, carrying with it a wire to loop
up the coming warp, and as it runs back
again it withdraws a wire that has already
served. So the weaving of the carpet goes on,
the pattern growing with every beat of the
slay, every double course of the binding
shuttle. When woven, the carpets are taken
to the inspectors, the darners, and the
finishers, thence to the warehouse or despatch

The first English town in which Brussels

carpets were made was Wilton. It is said
that the weavers there were taught by a
Frenchman smuggled over the Channel in a
cask by an Earl of Pembroke, who wished
to do his neighbours a good turn. Wilton
weavers did not receive the Brussels carpet
unintelligently. Without delay they sought
to improve the fabric. One device the
Wilton men invented has given birth to a
new form of Brussels, which is now known
as the Wilton carpet. The Brussels carpet
surface is formed of tiny loops, and by the
simple expedient of fixing a little cutting
blade at one end of the looping wires, that as
they are withdrawn cuts the loops and leaves
a fine velvet pile, the Wilton weavers made a
carpet soft and beautiful. Wilton and Brussels
carpets are similar in every other respect.

Though possessed of the Brussels and
Wilton carpets, British buyers turned longing
eyes on the carpets of the Orient. Encouraged
by the Society of Arts, the Axminster weavers
began the manufacture of Persian carpets,
and some time after Wilton also took up
the trade. Persian carpets are built slowly





together, tuft by tuft of coloured \vool knotted
over on to the linen \varp, the thread of weft
securing- each line of tufts as completed.
But the trade has never grown to any dimen
sions, because the market is limited for
articles so costly, and the Axminster might
have been classed among the industrial pro
ducts too exceptional for notice had it not
been the parent of one of the most extensive
carpet industries in the world. This is the
patent Axminster carpet manufacture. About
1838 a Paisley shawl manufacturer, named
James Templeton, bethought him that the
chenille fringes he made for his shawls might
very well serve the same purpose as the
painfully tied tufts of the Axminster carpet.
In 1839 Templeton devised and patented a
chenille loom that produced a continuous
fringe of wool bound together by a linen
edge, which when laid row on row perfectly
resembled the Axminster fabric. Satisfied
with his experiment, Mr. Templeton removed
to Glasgow and there founded a large factor} .

The weft of the patent Axminster carpet is
chenille fringe which must first be woven.
The process is very detailed and elaborate.
From beginning to end of the long process
the design of the carpet must be kept in
view Having been scoured and dyed, the
yarns are formed into hanks and wound on
to cops for use in the chenille weaver s
shuttle. As many as forty different shades
of colour, in as many different shuttles, may
be required for one design. The chenille
loom has a linen warp, but curiously heddled,
so as to leave a wide space between each pair
of warp threads. Instead of producing a
cloth, the chenille weavers make a series
of worsted strips divided by linen bands.
When taken off the loom the web is sent
to cutting machines that neatly halve each
strip and form long cords of chenille fringe.
Here, with the colours in order appointed, is
the weft of the carpet. In the carpet-weaving
shed the looms are of great size, some measur
ing thirty feet broad. On a linen warp the
chenille cord is carefully laid, the shuttle is
sent to and fro, the powerful slay coming
forward thud-thud. So, thread by thread, the
great carpet is woven.

Perhaps the most perfect invention for
producing Axminster carpets is the loom
originally designed by George Crompton,

Worcester, Mass., U.S.A., in 1881, and finally
perfected, after a long series of experiments
costing about ,100,000, by the well-known
carpet-making firm of Messrs. Richard Smith
and Sons, Kidderminster, in 1894. The
Crompton Axminster loom combines with
out difficulty as many shades of colour as
the artistic designer may require, and pro
duces at the rate of forty yards per clay.

The finishing of these carpets is rather
more elaborate than that required by the
Brussels carpet. Passed through a cylindrical
cutting machine to clear away protruding
threads, calendered, and carefully finished,
these machine-made reproductions of the
Oriental carpets are then ready for the

Kidderminster was a famous centre of
woollen broadcloth manufacture when carpet
weaving was introduced into this country.
The weavers of the town quickly picked up
the new craft, and about 1735 were said to
excel as much in carpet weaving as they had
formerly done in the manufacture of broad
cloth. At first they wove only Brussels
carpets ; but later the Kidderminster genius
brought forth a carpet which was at once
cloth and carpet. Taking the hint of the
double warp from the Brussels loom, the
Kidderminster weavers devised a double web,
and formed from it a thick all-wool carpet,
patterned on both sides. Mr. Thomas
Morton, a Kilmarnock manufacturer, added a
warp to the thickness of the Kidderminster
carpet, and this became known as Scotch
three-ply Kidderminster." Later the name
was shortened and applied to all carpets of
the kind, giving thus a double and inter
changeable name to the article.

Kidderminster carpets are formed by
worsted warp and wool weft. Worsted, it
must be understood, is a woollen yarn which
has been twilled in the spinning, while wool
weft is spun as evenly as possible, the fibres
being wrought together so that the serrated
edges of the wool may interlock. The
worsted thread is smooth but firm ; the wool
thread is rough and soft. Kidderminster
weavers had long known all the secrets of
woollen yarn manufacture, and the carpet
gave them a fresh mode of working it. Even
if composed of the same wool, the warp and
weft yarn of the carpet must very early part




company. Scoured, sorted, opened out,
lapped and carded, the warp and weft
may run together; but the carded slivers of
the worsted warp go into the combing
machine, and the wool slivers are taken
away to the drawing frames. Through a
series of cylindrical combers the woolly
slive destined for worsted warp is passed,
and then on to the long series of spinning
frames, drawers, slubbers, roving frames,
and spinning mules, arriving in shape
of yarn hanks for the scourer and clyer.
Passing through their hands the worsted and
wool weft suffer alike, and issue coloured
according to design. The weft goes to the
reelers to be wound straight on to the cops
the weaver fills into his shuttle, while the
warp must undergo another winding on to
bobbins, and thence pass on to the warping
flat, there to be wound in serried rows, giving
up the thread to a long beam. At the
weaver s loom weft and warp again meet to
combine in one fabric. In this loom the ex
perience of the weaver who has wen-en both
cloth and carpet is curiously blended. The
double loom, the Jacquard apparatus directing

the two-sided pattern, the tiered shuttle slays
all suggest the weaving of some mighty
giant s clothes. The patterns of Kiddermin
ster and Scotch carpets are varied and artistic,
the Jacquard apparatus giving the designer as
much scope as he can reasonably desire.

The tapestry carpet is of British origin,
being invented by Mr. Richard Whytock, of
Edinburgh, about the year 1840. Many
efforts had been made to produce a light
kind of Brussels carpet, but the results were
unsatisfactory. Most of the inventors who
failed attempted modifications of the Brussels
carpet loom, but Whytock boldly discarded
the Brussels method. In Brussels carpets
every colour in the pattern is represented
by a thread running the whole length of
the warp, the pattern being formed by the
weaving. Mr. \Vhytock reversed the process,
imprinted the pattern on the warp, allowing
for the area taken up by looping up of the
warp threads, and thus, with a single layer of
wool on a linen foundation, made a light and
artistic form of Brussels carpet.

After the designing, the first important
department in a tapestry carpet factory is the


printing. Xo dyeing takes place in this
factory. Having been sorted and scoured,
and spun into hanks, the wool is wound on to
spools for the yarn printer. Set together on a
board below the huge circular printing drum,
the yarn bobbins slowly and carefully give
out their yarn to the drum, covering it over
with white threads. Round the printing-
cylinder is a copper rim, all toothed and
numbered, while the frame holding it has
a corresponding rim. Below the drum lies
the colour box, and within it a broad-sided
disc revolves, at each revolution dipping
itself through the colour. Colour box and
disc are easily changeable. Suppose the
colour is yellow and on the pattern yellow
is numbered 50, the printer nicks the point
50 into the side catch and sends round the
drum. The little colour disc below is busy
running- backward and forward across the
drum, and when the machine stops yellow
bars of colour mark the yarn wound on the
drum. These acts are repeated till the drum
has been changed from white to a rainbow-
like cylinder. Immersed in bran to fix the

colour, washed with clear cold water, dried in
steam-heated stoves, and wound on to spools,
the yarn is made ready for the warp setters.
This is the critical act of the tapestry process.
At one end of the long setting board is the
bobbin frame, while at the other is the
weaver s beam, and the yarn has to be trans
ferred from bobbins to beam.

Carefully unwinding the yarn from the
bobbin, the setter lays them together, forming
the warp into the pattern. When she has got
all the threads properly placed the setter
clamps that part firmly, draws it gently on to
the weaving beam, and then resumes the
setting process, thus making the warp of a
large carpet. When the warp is ready it
is taken to the weaving shed, and there joins
the previously prepared linen warp and weft.
Like the Brussels carpet, the tapestry carpet
surface is formed of little loops. Here also
we see at the front of the loom the long steel
wires thrust between the linen and worsted

Online LibraryHenry HarrisseBritain at work; a pictorial description of our national industries → online text (page 32 of 39)