Inside the Mills
Finishing Silk Skeins - When the cream colored raw silk comes into the New York market from France, Italy, Austria, Spain, China, Japan and the Levant the bales may look to the uninitiated, like the finished skeins, but the silk worker realizes the immense amount of work expended on the skeins before the come to this final "finishing" process in the skein dyer's trade.
To begin with the throwster wound, doubled and twisted and spun and reeled the threads; the dryer "stripped" and weighted and washed and dyed and washed them again. Thicker by many fibres, heavier by tin or iron salts, lustrous and supple from skillful treatments of oil and acid combined, the skeins from the dryer after drying are placed on wooden pins. The workmen pull them out and "work" them to straighten tangled fibres. Waste is picked out and a final twist is given the skeins to prevent further tangling. After this "finishing" they are packed in bales ready to go to the weavers.
Stripping - Weighting -
Warping - All weaving schemes are reduced to some combination of warp and woof threads. This is the warping room of the weaving plant where the long lengths of the warp that form the weaving base are arranged. After leaving the dyeing plant, where the skeins were finished and put into bales for the weaving, the skeins in another part of the mill were first slipped onto soft silk winding reels and wound onto small spools which were then brought and placed on the pegs as we see them here attached to these vertical "tables". Each table may carry from 100 to 500 pegs. The first task of the operator in weaving, is to gather the ends of silk in each spool and run the parallel threads onto frames in front of those warping wheels at the left, and thence through reels which hold them in place and regulate the number of threads per inch in the warp. This varies from 100 in light goods to 448 threads to an inch in heavy silks. The threads then pass over these huge creels which are eight yards in circumference and are fitted with a measuring apparatus, so that the warp may be cut into the desired lengths. When the creel is full, the warp is wound off onto a huge round warping spool, a cylinder of wood or iron, six or seven inches in diameter, attached to the rear of the warping creel. When enough warp is wound off on this, it is removed and placed in position at the rear of the looms.
Sterocard #11446 Underwood & Underwood Publishers
Sterocard #11449 Underwood & Underwood Publishers
Silk Finishing - The silk as it comes from the hands of dyers, weavers and printers is often too stiff or too soft, too thin or to full , rough, soiled and lusterless, with protruding thread ends. Here are some of the many different styles of machines which, with the nimble fingers of the workers, remedy such defects. There are as many different finishing processes as different qualities and styles of silk fabrics on the market. The peculiar wavy effect in moire is given by running the silk through a finishing machine with rollers on which there are flutings so fine that they cannot be felt by the hand. In another machine the silks are sprayed with a sizing mixture composed of gums, glues, gelatins, waxes, and starches, and after spraying, the silk is rolled in dry, hot paper till thoroughly dried. Then the "breaker" comes into play, such as we see of several different patterns before us. In the one on the right the cloth passes between bars showing deep spiral flutings (alternately right and left) Then for some silks huge calendar presses are used where the goods are ironed between ponderous rollers of metal. In the middle distance we see men engaged in folding the silks, and again against the wall great hydraulic presses which are also used in the finishing process.
The silk is also singed to remove rough nap. White satin is passed over rollers three times before a row of illuminating gas jets. The result of these manifold processes is the fine sheen and gloss and polish on rolls of ready-for-the-market silk.
Sterocard #11456 Underwood & Underwood Publishers
Weaving Ribbons -Silk ribbons are woven in the same fashion as broadgoods. The chief difference is due to the narrower width of the ribbons. On one loom from 20 to 30 ribbons may be woven at the same time. The warp is placed on a beam that is only a large spool in size. The threads of the woof are shot through the warp by a shuttle only a few inches long. Each ribbon has its own shuttle. When the ribbons are woven, they are wound into rolls.
Sterocard #55--(22112)Keystone View Company