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Wool Substitutes And Waste Products

=Remanufactured= wool substitutes are extensively used in the
manufacture of woolen and worsted goods. There is no need for the
prejudice that is sometimes met regarding these reclaimed materials,
for by their use millions of people are warmly and cheaply clothed. If
the immense quantity of these materials were wasted, countless persons
would be unable to afford proper clothing, as it is difficult to
estimate what the price of wool would be; and it is also doubtful if a
sufficient quantity could be produced to supply the need. In almost
all instances the use of wool substitutes is for the special purpose
of producing cloths at a much lower price.

The cloths made from waste products, such as noils, are not much
inferior in quality to those produced from the wool from which the
noils are obtained; but the great majority of cloths made from other
waste products are much inferior. The following are the most important
substitutes: noils, shoddy, mungo, extract-wool, and flocks.

=Noils= are the rejected fibers from the process of combing the
different wools and hairs; thus, wool noils are from the sheep, mohair
noils from the Angora goat, and alpaca noils from the Peruvian sheep.

Noils are divided into classes, namely, long-wool noils, short or
fine-wool noils, mohair noils, and alpaca noils. They are all obtained
in the process of combing, that is, the process which separates the
long from the short fibers; the former are known as the "top," and are
used in worsted and in the production of mohair and alpaca yarns;
while the latter are used to advantage in the production of many
different kinds of woolen fabrics. With the exception of length, noils
are practically of the same quality as the tops from which they are

Long-wool noils are from the combings of such wools as Leicester and
similar wools. These noils, like the wool from which they are
obtained, are much coarser in quality and fiber than the short-wool
noils. Occasionally, when strength is required in the fabric, these
noils are used, and they are also mixed with short-wool noils. Many of
the cheviot fabrics are made exclusively of these noils. They are also
mixed with shoddy and cotton in the production of dark-colored
fabrics, and in medium and low-priced goods requiring a fibrous
appearance they are extremely useful.

Short or fine-wool noils are the most valuable, and are obtained from
combing Australian and other fine wools. The number and variety of
uses to which they are put are innumerable. They are used to advantage
in the plain and fancy woolen trade, in the manufacture of shawls and
plain woolens of a soft nature, and are also suitable for mixing with
cotton in the production of twist threads.

Mohair and alpaca noils are obtained by the combing of these
materials. They are lacking in felting properties, but are lustrous
and possess strength, and are most valuable in the manufacture of
fabrics where strength and luster are required. These noils are used
in the production of yarns for Kidderminster carpets, as yarns for
these carpets must possess strength, brightness, and thickness of
fiber. They are also used in combination with shoddy and cotton to
produce weft or filling yarns for a lower quality of goods.

=Shoddy= and =Mungo= are in reality wool products, or wool fiber which
has previously passed through the processes of manufacture whereby its
physical structure has been considerably mutilated. These were first
produced about sixty years ago. Shoddy is higher in value than mungo.
The value and quality of the waste or rags from which it is made
determine the quality or value of the material. Shoddy is derived from
waste or rags of pure unmilled woolens, such as flannels, wraps,
stockings, and all kinds of soft goods.

=Mungo= is made from rags of hard or milled character and is much
shorter in fiber than shoddy. Its length, varying from one-quarter to
three-quarters of an inch, can be regulated by the treatment the rags
receive, and by the proper setting of the rollers in the grinding
machine. Both shoddy and mungo may be divided into classes. Mungo is
divided into two classes, namely, new and old mungo. New mungo is made
from rags chiefly composed of tailor's clippings, unused pattern-room
clippings, etc. Old mungo is made from cast-off garments, etc. By a
careful selection of the rags previous to grinding, it is possible to
make a large number of qualities, and a great variety of colors and
shades without dyeing. Owing to their cheapness shoddy and mungo are
used in cloths of low and medium qualities. Shoddies are utilized in
fabrics of the cheviot class and in the production of backing yarns.
Mungoes of the best quality are used in the low fancy tweed trade, in
both warp and weft, but chiefly in union and backed fabrics.

=Method of Producing Shoddy and Mungo.= Before the fibrous mungo is
obtained, the rags have to pass through the following necessary
preliminary operations:

A. Dusting. This is carried on in a shaking machine, which consists
of a cylinder possessing long and strong spikes, which are enclosed,
having underneath a grating to allow the dust to pass through. The
dust is then driven by a fan into a receptacle provided for that

B. Sorting. All rags, both old and new, must be sorted, and
considerable care must be exercised in this operation, as on this work
alone depends the obtaining of different qualities and shades, as well
as the securing of the production of a regular and uniform product.

C. Seaming. This is only necessary with the rags procured from
garments. It is simply removing the cotton threads from the seams, and
any metallic or hard substances from the rags.

D. Oiling. The rags are oiled to soften them and make them more
pliable, and thus to facilitate the grinding.

E. Grinding. This is the principal operation, and the rags are made
fibrous in this process. The machine by which this is effected is made
up of the following parts: feed apron, fluted rollers, swift, and a
funnel for conveying the material out of the machine. The principal
features of the machine are the swift and its speed. The swift is
enclosed in a framework, and is about forty-two inches in diameter and
eighteen inches wide, thus possessing a surface area of 2,376 square
inches, containing from 12,000 to 14,000 fine strong iron spikes. The
speed of the swift may be from 600 to 800 revolutions per minute. The
rags are fed by placing them on the traveling feed apron, and are thus
conveyed to the fluted rollers. As they emerge from the rollers they
are presented to the swift, and by strong iron teeth, moving with
exceedingly high surface velocity, they are torn thread from thread
and fiber from fiber. The fluted rollers run very slowly, and the rags
are held while the swift carries out this operation. By means of the
strong current of air created by the high speed of the swift, the
mungo is expelled from the machine through the funnel into a specially
arranged receptacle. If by any chance the machine should be
overcharged, that is, if too many rags are passing through the
rollers, the top fluted roller is raised up, and the rags are simply
carried, or thrown by the swift, over into a box on the opposite side
of the machine without being subjected to the tearing process. The top
roller is weighted by levers with weights attached to keep it in
position, thus bringing downward pressure to bear upon it, as it is
driven simply by friction. By the adjustment of the feed rollers in
relation to the swift, the length of the fiber may be varied to a
small degree.

=Extract Wool.= This is obtained from union cloths, that is, from
cloths having a wool weft and warp of cotton, etc., also from cloths
having the same material for warp, but possessing a woolen or mungo
warp or filling, etc. It is the wool fiber that is required. Therefore
the vegetable matter (cotton) must be extracted from it by the process
of carbonizing. To effect this, the tissue or rags are steeped in a
solution of sulphuric acid and water and then subjected to heat in an
enclosed room. The water is evaporated, leaving the acid in a
concentrated form, which acts upon the cotton, converting it into
powder. The powder readily becomes separated, and thus the cotton is
eliminated. The material that is left is well washed to remove all
acid, dried, and then passed through a miniature carder, to impart to
it the appearance of a woolly and a softer fabric.

=Flocks.= These are of three kinds, and are waste products of the
milling, cropping, and raising operations. The most valuable are those
derived from the fulling mill, being clean and of a bright color. They
are chiefly used by sail spinners, and in the manufacture of low grade
cloths of a cheviot class. White flocks are suitable for blending with
wool, and as a rule command a fair price. Raising flocks are those
obtained from the dressing or raising gigs, and are applied to
purposes similar to those for which fulling flocks are used. Cutting
or cropping flocks are the short fibers which are removed from the
cloths in this operation. They are practically of no value to the
textile manufacturer, being unfit for yarn production, but are used
chiefly by wall-paper manufacturers in producing "flock-papers," which
are papers with raised figures resembling cloth, made of poor wool,
and attached with a gluey varnish.

Next: Worsted Yarns

Previous: Wool Sorting

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