Cottage Carding

Cottage and commercial carding machines differ significantly from the simple drum card. These carders do not store fibre in the card cloth as the drum carder does but, rather, fibre passes through the workings of the carder for storage or for additional processing by other machines. 200px carder

A typical cottage carder has a single large drum (the swift) accompanied by a pair of in-feed rollers (nippers), one or more pairs carding machineof worker and stripper rollers, a fancy, and a doffer. In-feed to the carder is usually accomplished by hand or by conveyor belt and often the output of the cottage carder is stored as a batt or further processed into roving and wound into bumps with an accessory bump winder. The cottage carder in the image below supports both outputs.

Raw fibre, placed on the in-feed table or conveyor is moved to the nippers which restrain and meter the fibre onto the swift. As they are transferred to the swift, many of the fibres are straightened and laid into the swift's card cloth. These fibres will be carried past the worker - stripper rollers to the fancy.

cottage carding As the swift carries the fibres forward, from the nippers, those fibres that are not yet straightened are picked up by a worker and carried over the top to its paired stripper. Relative to the surface speed of the swift, the worker turns quite slowly. This has the effect of reversing the fibre. The stripper, which turns at a higher speed than the worker, pulls fibres from the worker and passes them to the swift. The stripper's relative surface speed is slower than the swift's so the swift pulls the fibres from the stripper for additional straightening.

Straightened fibres are carried by the swift to the fancy. The fancy's card cloth is designed to engage with the swift's card cloth so that the fibres are lifted to the tips of the swift's card cloth and carried by the swift to the doffer. The fancy and the swift are the only rollers in the carding process that actually touch.

The slowly turning doffer removes the fibres from the swift and carries them to the fly comb where they are stripped from the doffer. A fine web of more or less parallel fibre, a few fibres thick and as wide as the carder's rollers, exits the carder at the fly comb by gravity or other mechanical means for storage or further processing.

History

Historian of science Joseph Needham ascribes the invention of bow-instruments used in textile technology to India. The earliest evidence for using bow-instruments for carding comes from India (2nd century CE). These carding devices, called kaman and dhunaki would loosen the texture of the fibre by the means of a vibrating string.

In 1748 Lewis Paul of Birmingham, England invented the hand driven carding machine. A coat of wire slips were placed around a card which was then wrapped around a cylinder. Daniel Bourn obtained a similar patent in the same year, and probably used it in his spinning mill at Leominster, but this burnt down in 1754. The invention was later developed and improved by Richard Arkwright and Samuel Crompton. Arkwright's second patent (of 1775) for his carding machine was subsequently declared invalid, because it lacked originality.

From the 1780s, the carding machines were set up in mills in the north of England and mid Wales. The first in Wales was in a factory at Dolobran near Meifod in 1789. These carding mills produced yarn particularly for the Welsh flannel industry.

By 1838, the Spen Valley, centred around Cleckheaton had at least 11 carding factories and by 1893 it was generally accepted as the carding capital of the world. Even now, Cleckheaton's carding legacy lives on through companies such as Garnett Control, Bridon Wire, Cold Drawn Products and ECC.

General Information

This product (rovings and rolags) can be used for spinning.

Carding of wool can either be done "in the grease" or not, depending on the type of machine and on the spinner's preference. "In the grease" means that the lanolin that naturally comes with the wool has not been washed out, leaving the wool with a slightly greasy feel. The large drum carders do not tend to get along well with lanolin, so most commercial worsted and woollen mills wash the wool before carding. Hand carders (and small drum carders too, though the directions may not recommend it) can be used to card lanolin rich wool. A major benefit of working with the lanolin still in the wool is that it leaves you with soft hands.

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