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
rice 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.