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Gen., ch. iii, v. 21.* But it could not have long escaped observation that the filaments of the woolly covering of some animals, while yet growing upon their bodies, had a tendency to entangle and mat; and this natural felting was doubtless imitated by our earliest forefathers, probably long before spinning and weaving were known.f
Travellers tell us of Tartars manufacturing tent covers and tent-carpets by spreading two or three layers of wool on the wet ground and treading them together, making a felt; but they have no idea of
The Felting Property. Notwithstanding the great antiquity of felting, and the great perfection which it has attained as a mechanical and manufacturing art, it was not until very recently, comparatively, that the property in the filament of wool upon which it depends was known, or even suspected. Experience taught that hair would not felt, and that wool would; and from the same great teacher it was learned that among the last-mentioned integuments there were various degrees of this matting and mass-making power, it requiring more felting power to felt than to full; but to explain the cause, or describe the nodus operandi, the learned and unlearned were equally at fault. The skilful operator has a mass of wool which with his magic bow he has formed into the desired shape; this fleece,“ light as the thistle down that floats on the air," with no other agency than a damp linen cloth and the pressure of his hands, he in a few moments transforms into a firm cloth or felt; but neither he nor the scientific looker.on could explain the phenomenon. At length a filament of wool was placed under the microscope, and the mystery was revealed.
It is the scales of the cortex of pile that cause the filaments to felt. They are circularly disposed; upon hair they are less numerous, smoother, rounder at the point, and embrace the stalk more intimately; upon wool they are more numerous, rougher, sharper at the point, and at their anterior extremities stand a little out from the shaft.
The scales upon the different wools should be drawn, described, and classified, to understand perfectly the felting power.
The first attempt to count the number of these scales was made by Mr. Youatt. He found upon the filament of Anglo-Merino wool 2,400 to a linear inch.
Let us here pause for reflection. If one inch in length of this wool has 2,400 scales, and it is (as Mr. Youаtt tells us) in diameter šo of an inch, there are upon the whole area of its contour 23,040 scales, ever ready to hook and fasten into as many to be found upon every similar inch of filament with which it comes in contact !|| Mr. Youаtt afterwards
* And see Lucretius, Lib. xi, v. 1,911,
+ Yet weaving seems to have been known in the time of Job; for he says, ' My days are swifter than the weaver's shuttle."--VIII, 6.
The nitrate of mercury is sometimes used to facilitate the felting.
In an article published in the Plough, the Loom, and the Anvil, for 1850, we have given an history of the discovery of the cause of felting, and endeavored to do justice to the memories. of those concerned in its discovery.
i The following calculation was made for us by Ferdinand Hubbel, Esq. There are 2,400 points (which are the edges of scales) upon one inch in length iu merino wool; as-. suming it to be of the same circumference, there are 2,400 in the contour, and multiplying. 2,400 by itself will give 5,760,000 for the number of points on the one inch of cylinder. But the filament has a diameter of only 1-750 of an inch: 7.22.1-250 :: 0,004 = 4-1,000 = 1-250 Divide 5,760,000 by 250, and you will have 23,040 for the number of scales upon one inch in length of a filament of wool that has a diameter 1-750 of an incha
counted the scales of other wools, from the result of which we have made the following table: No. 1. Saxony..
2,720 2. Ld. Weston's merino picklock.
2,560 3. Rveland Herefordshire..
2,420 4. Ld. Weston's (common).
2,400 Australasian M’Arthurs.
2,400 5. South Down....
2,080 New South Wales..
2,080 South Down picklock.
2,080 6. Australasian ....
1,920 Irish long-wool..
1,920 7. Leicester
1,860 8. Norfolk....
1,600 9. East Indian (Deccan)..
1,280 Lincoln ....
1,250 10. Van Dieman's Land, being slight and indistinct, were not
counted. We must next speak of
The Shape and Position of the Scales. It will be observed that, besides the number of the scales, their shapes and their positions upon the shaft may materially influence the felting power; for if the scales, although numerous, are smooth, rounded at their anterior extremities, and they adhere to the shaft, they will be less likely to entangle and mat together than under opposite circumstances. Hence the necessity of examining them under a microscope of high power, and of depicting and describing them as proposed to be done.
Of Fulling. Wool, while being manufactured into cloth, is not felted, but scrubbled,* carded, spun, wove, and fulled; the latter process consisting in causing the filaments of the fleece, after having undergone all the other operations above enumerated, to enlarge and mat together, thereby giving more compactness to the fabric. It must be obvious that the same property in wool that causes it to felt must also cause it to full. But there is another peculiarity in wool, which is auxiliary to both these processes, namely, its tendency to form spiral curls, which must now be explained.
Of Spiral Curls. 'It is one of the consequences of the eccentrically eliptical shape of « wool to form these curls. If a filament of merino or Saxony wool be separated from the rest, it will be found to be contracted into these curls.
* The scrubbler consists of a large number of wooden cylinders, placed horizontally on a frame almost touching each other, with small cylinders placed above them. The cylinders are covered with iron teeth ; which, as they revolve in different directions, tear the wool into minute proportions. After having been transferred from cylinder to cylinder, the wool is Ánally thrown off in a fake. It is then carded.
'If it is extended until it is straight, and then set at liberty, it will spontaneously return to its original spirally curled condition. Now it is easy to conceive that filaments in this spirally curled state are more likely to entangle and mat together than they would have been were they straight or even undulated. But, preliminary to spinning, the wool has (as above stated) to undergo the operations of scrubbling and carding, by which these curled filaments are broken into minute curves or scctions of rings, and these interlock still more than the entire spiral curls, as will be obvious to the reader; for these curves and sections of rings, haying been tossed about in every direction by the scrubbing machine and cards, will present to the points of each other's scales opposite points of their own, which will be much more likely to interlock than when, on the unbroken filament, their points were all in one direction. Let us endeavor to make this still more plain by the aid of diagrams.
Suppose A and B to be spirally curled filaments of wool, presented to each other root to point. The points of the scales, being in opposite directions, confer a tendency to interlock. Now suppose these two spirally curled filaments to be broken into curves and sections of rings by the scrubbling machine and cards, at the places indicated by the horizontal lines upon the figure A B; the tendency to entangle is, in the first place, increased in proportion to the number of these curves and sections of rings. But suppose, again, that these curves and sections of rings are presented to each other (as they will be after the wool is scrubbled and carded) in the opposite direction of the points of their scales, as represented in figure C D; the tendency to entangle and the mass to mat will be still further increased, in proportion to the number of curves or sections of rings that are thus oppositely presented.
From all which we learn that, although the scales are the princi. pal cause of felting, yet they receive considerable aid from the spiral curls. Having discussed so much at length the properties of the wool that will felt and full, it now becomes us to say a few words respecting
The Fleece for manufacturing articles that will not shrink. Fleece that will not shrink (or will not do so in an appreciable degree) is exceedingly valuable for the manufacture of flannel, worsted, * blankets, hose, &c. Now we are to understand that shrinking, which is defined to be the contracting into a smaller space,” is only another word for
“ fulling,” since it depends for its operation upon precisely the same properties of the fleece. If wool possessing the felting property be manufactured into cloth, all but the fulling, it will afterwards, when used and washed in hot water, shrink; and so will flannel, if made from the same material. On the other hand, cloth which is made from
a fleece which has no felting property will not full, and the only way to obtain flannel which will not shrink is to use that material. This is correct in theory, and will hold equally good in practice, as any one will discover who will try the experiment; so that nothing further remains to be
* Worsted is a thread spun of fleece that has been combed, and which in the spinning is · twisted harder than ordinarily: Formerly, it was chiefly used to be woven into stockings, caps, gloves, &c. The name is derived from that of the town in England where it was first > manufactured. (See Slater's Memoir, App. p. 440, where will be found some excellent Temarks upon the manufacture of worsted.) | The degree may vary.
known but whether the sheep breeder can at pleasure produce a fleecethat will felt and full, or a fleece that will not shrink; and this question we: propose to discuss.
OF SHEEP. Wool grows upon a great many animals, bụt our chief supply is obtained from the sheep. Sheep belong to the tribe of hollow-horns, of the order Ruminantia, and are distinguished from the goat principally by the direction of the horns.
We will not consume time by enumerating the different kinds of sheep, nor by noticing the vain endeavors that have been made to refer all the domesticated varieties to some wild species. They were domesticated as early as the time of Abel, for he was a “keeper of sheep;" but there were no doubt wild ones ever since, and even are at the present day.
Of the two Species of Sheep. It is very evident to us that there are two distinct species of sheep, viz: 1st. The hairy sheep, and 2d. The woolly sheep. The hairy sheep, when perfect, has no wool; and the woolly sheep, when perfect, has not a hair on it. We have already described hair and wool, and shown how the latter is admirably calculated for the manufacture of felts and all cloths which are required to full; and the former to the manufacture of flannel, worsted blankets, and hose, and all articles that are required not to shrink.
The fleece of the hairy sheep has sometimes been called “long wool,” and that of the woolly sheep “short wool;"' but the truth is, that the former is not wool at all, and these “long" and "short” names should be discontinued, being calculated to mislead. In the manufacture of fabrics that are required not to shrink, the hair should be combed and spun,
but never scrubbled nor carded. The object is to preserve the same direction of filaments that they had on the body of the animal, where the scales are not opposed to each other, and where they have no tendency to entangle, even should they become loose.
But it will be objected that there are sheep that have on them both hair and wool. We admit it, and shall now proceed to show that the existence of such mongrels is no argument whatever against our division into two pure species. But, as the discussion of this point involves nearly the whole art of sheep-breeding, it is time that we should reduce what we have to say to order.
Rule the first. The sheep-breeder should never cross the two species of sheep, viz: the hairy sheep and the woolly sheep.
This is the most important direction we have to give; it is the golden rule—the primatus principatus-a rule the more necessary to be dwelt upon, as its adverse has been countenanced by authority, and has been acted upon by those whose example has been deemed worthy of being followed. Its discussion divides into two questions, viz:
1st. Whether the hairy sheep and the woolly sheep belong to two dis. tinct species. And
2d. Whether, by the amalgamation of two distinct species of animals, a permanent self-supporting race, possessing equally the properties of both parents, can be produced.
The learned have not always agreed upon a definition of the term “species;” on the contrary, it has been used in different senses, according to the mode or subject, whether literary, popularly, logically, or zoologically and physiologically. In its zoological and physiological meaning it is, according to the Rev. Thomas Smith, "a fixed PRINCIPLE, founded upon the indefinite varieties of which animal life is capable.” In regard to proof, he considers common parentage as the best evidence which the nature of the case admits; but, as this parentage could not always be traced, he does not exclude other proof.
We acknowledge that we prefer the definitions of species given, respectively, by Van Amringe and Mills; but we do not think that it would be hazarding too much to affirm that, under almost any other definition of it to be found in the books, the modification of an animal, from being entirely covered with hair to being entirely covered with wool, when permanently native in its race, is sufficient ground for a specific distinction. That this is the case with the most perfect kind of animals known, we think we have proven in “The classification of Mankind by the hair and wool of their heads,” to which we refer; and if we have, the argument, from analogy, in regard to the two species of sheep, is irresistible. But, even if it shall not be considered that we have heretofore shown by the hair and wool that man is not confined to one species, we shall contend, and shall endeavor to prove, that there are two species of sheep.
"Species (says Van Amringe) is a constitutional organization in a race of animals producing a similarity of functions, in which they agree with all animals of the same genus in generic character, but differ from races of the same genus in modifications of generic character-in regard to form, color, instincts, or intellectual power—and which we have good reason to believe to be permanently native in the race."
Now, in considering the permanent modifications of generic character as regards form, let us see whether naturalists generally have not been influenced by discrepancies of a much less decided character than those which distinguish the hairy sheep from the woolly sheep. The general similitude between the horse and the ass is very striking--the difference between them (if we throw out of view a discrepancy in the dimensions of the head and ears) consisting in the color and marking of the pile; yet where is the naturalist who has put them in the same species? The zebra, which has pretty much the same form as the horse and the ass, is placed in another species on account of the singular disposition of the colors of his hair (“Equus lineis transversis versicolor,”! Lin.).
The quagga, the onagga, the dziggatai, between which and the horse and the ass there exist still slighter shades of difference, are all considered as distinct species. The two species of camel are distinguished by one having one and the other having two humps on the back, and they are never placed together.
There are two species of rhinoceros, one having one and the other having two horns.
There are several species of the deer kind, which are known mainly by the difference in the horns. Some species of monkey are distinguished by the presence and others by the absence of the tail. Sloths are separated into species by the number of their toes.
And in Pera there are two species of lizard, the only difference between which is, that the one has an orifice in the thighs, for the passage of a gland, which the other has not.