The Dyer's Guide. Chapter I. Introductory. On the different branches of dyeing.

The Dyer's Guide
Being a Compendium of the Art of Dyeing
Linen, Cotton, Silk, Wool, Muslin, Dresses, Furniture, &c. &c.

With The Method of
Scouring Wool, Bleaching Cotton, &c.
Directions for Ungumming Silk, And For Whitening And Sulphuring Silk And Wool.
And Also
An Inttroductory Epitome of The Leading Facts in Chemistry, As Connected With The Art of Dyeing.

By Thomas Packer,
Dyer and Practical Chemist.

"Cet arte est un des plus utiles et des plus merveilleux qu'on connoisse."
- Chaptal.

"There is no art which depends so much on chemistry as dyeing."
- Garnett.

Second Edition,
Corrected and Materially Improved.

Printed for Sherwood, Gilbert, And Piper,

* Cochineal was at first supposed to be a grain, which name it still retains by way of eminence among dyers. Ure. The trade of a Dyer is, in this country, subdivided into several distinct branches. Thus we have woollen dyers, who are occupied solely in the colours obtained from cochineal, such as scarlet, crimson, orange, buff, &c.; likewise purple, or royal purple, obtained from cochineal and indigo. They are called, also, grain dyers, from the circumstance of the colouring material, cochineal, being in small grains *. Yet it ought to be observed, that the term dyed in grain is applied by the public generally in a very different sense, namely, to those cloths the raw material of which is dyed previously to being spun into thread, or at least before woven into cloth; and hence such dyes are usually more permanent than those which are dyed after the materials are woven into cloth. This class of dyers generally dye cloth in the piece, or a number of pieces of cloth tacked together, and worked over a winch in a suitable copper.

There are dyers who likewise dye worsted and woollen yarn of those grain colours, but they are generally a distinct branch. The yarn is dyed in hanks, upon sticks; and, when in the copper, the hanks are changed end for end, so that they may be kept even; such changing being performed five or six times to each turning in.

There are also silk dyers who are grain dyers. These dye in the skein, chiefly for new goods. Some silk, and some mixed silk and worsted goods, are dyed in the piece.

In dyeing cotton, the Adrianople or Turkey Red is, in many cases, a branch of itself, and comes the nearest to what may be called grain or scarlet dyeing upon cotton, because cochineal cannot be applied to cotton to any advantage; yet cotton is occasionally dyed with this material.

In woollen another branch consists of the woad dyers. These often superintend the black dye on woollen cloth, as well as the blue from woad and indigo. There is the same distinction among worsted yarn dyers, they having likewise to do slates, greys, &c. Nearly the same may be said of the silk skein dyers.

In many places, particularly in the country, browns, drabs, stone-colours, &c. constitute a branch in woollen. The same colours form also a branch in calico and muslin; but black, in calico and muslin, is a distinct branch.

The dyers (whether in London or provincial towns) who keep shops, and take in garments, furniture, &c. to be dyed, are termed by the trade Rag-dyers.

There are a few dyers in the metropolis who dye black on woollen, silk, cotton, &c. for the dye-shops, many of these putting all their black out to be dyed.

There are one or two dyers famous for dyeing silk stockings black; these constitute a particular branch. Dyeing bombasins black is also another branch.

The following constitute also particular branches: black hats, — hats of fancy colours,— fur, — chip and straw, — feathers, — leather, Morocco and Spanish, and kid leather for shoes and gloves. Many other branches of the dye-trade might be enumerated, but more detail does not appear necessary.

Concerning all these different branches, one general observation will suffice; namely, that those who are concerned in them have, for the most part, obtained their knowledge of the art of dyeing, not from theories adapted to explain the different processes, but from practice in that branch in which they are occupied. They usually, therefore, perform those processes which they have been shewn and told, without any inquiry into the causes which produce the results. There are, it is admitted, exceptions to this, men of general information and knowledge being occasionally found in the various branches of dyeing, but they are so few, that it may be questioned, when compai'ed with the great body employed in the art, whether they amount to one in a thousand. This is not, however, to be attributed to any indifference in such persons to acquire a correct knowledge of the art, but is chiefly owing to a deficiency of the ready means of acquiring such information; which information it is the design of the present Treatise to supply; there not being, as far as the present writer knows, any such work, at a moderate price, to be obtained in the English language.

It is true many of the Cyclopædias furnish us with much useful information on the subject of dyeing: one of these, Jennings's Family Cyclopædia, may be particularly mentioned as containing such; but it is scattered about in these dictionaries in various ways, at once troublesome and unpleasant to obtain. Dr. Bancroft's work on the philosophy of Permanent Colours, in two octavo volumes, will also supply much valuable information; so also will the edition, some time since published, of Berthollet's Elements of the art of Dyeing, with the addition of valuable Notes by Dr. Ure. Dr. Ure's Chemical Dictionary is also very useful to the dyer, as well as many detached papers in several of our English publications. A Treatise on Printing and Dyeing Silks, &c. lately published by H. M'Kernan, is also valuable, and should be consulted by the curious in this art. But all these works are expensive, and such as few dyers will be disposed to obtain; hence the necessity of the present Manual, the author of which has not servilely followed the directions or recommendations of any previous writer; but from his own practice, a practice of more than thirty years, has laid down such rules as he knows to be at once practical and efficient. At the same time he thinks it right to state, that he has not only consulted all the works mentioned above, but also Hellot, Macquer, &c. adopting all that appeared essential in these, and giving such additions as accord with the present improved state of chemistry and dyeing; and, as far as was possible, in the limits prescribed for this work, so that it may be within the reach of every dyer in the kingdom, as well as every journeyman and apprentice in all the various branches of this truly extensive and mysterious art, as carried on in London, Norwich, Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, and various other parts of the British dominions.

The author has, in treating of the various matters to be dyed, adopted nearly the same arrangement as that which appears in the Title, taking Cotton first, in consequence of its having the least affinity for dyeing bodies. He has taken Silk next, which has a greater affinity for many dyes, and, when dyed, yields colours more permanent than cotton.

Wool he has not placed entirely last, although many of the colours which it receives from the dyer are complex. The black dyeing of cotton and silk is placed after the processes of black for wool, as likewise the Turkey red, &c. these being naturally difficult to perform.

White and black have been considered colours by dyers, and with propriety, black forming a part of slate, grey, &c. White is seldom pure; in proportion to its clearness and purity will the colours be with which it is dyed.

In regard to black dye, and particularly cotton black dye, the author does not know any simple and concise theory, consistent with chemical principles. He flatters himself, however, that from his extensive experience, his observations are founded on interesting facts. Cotton, for instance, will take fast blues from the cold indigo vat; this vat, with the combination of iron, and in a heat no greater than the hand can bear, will easily produce all shades of grey, slate, &c. Many of these colours may be done by logwood instead of the blue vat, and in the same heat of the dye bath; so cotton likewise, whether in pieces or skeins, may be dyed brown, fawn, drab, &c. in consequence of the great affinity which cotton has for acetate and sulphate of iron.

With respect to black, it should be also observed, that few substances are known which yield by themselves a good black. The juice of the cashew nut communicates, however, a black colour, which resists not only washing, but even boiling with soap and alkaline leys. It is used for marking linen. The Toxicodendron yields a juice which produces nearly the same effect. Some other vegetables also produce black dyes, but all of them in such small quantities as not to be available for the purposes of art; nor do they, besides, produce blacks equal to those formed in the dye-house.

Blue, red, and yellow are admitted to be three distinct colours. In many of the browns, red and yellow are combined naturally in the drugs from which they are produced, and so they are in logwood. Blue, red, and yellow, are developed by iron, whether in the state of an acetate or sulphate.

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