The Dyer's Guide. Chapter I. Introductory. Miscellaneous observations.

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,

The limits and price of this manual preclude the possibility of our giving plates to explain some of the machinery and utensils which are now employed in dyeing. To inform a dyer what kind of coppers, casks, and vats are necessary, would seem to be superfluous; and the pupil may soon acquire such knowledge in the dye-house. Should a dyer find it his interest to undertake a branch of his art of which he has not any previous knowledge, he had better engage a man who understands it; if, however, he thinks himself competent to manage it, but is unacquainted with the best modern utensils appropriated to that particular branch, he had better get a dyer's labourer who has been used to it; a man of sufficient intelligence may be found with due encouragement to perform this part. It may just be added, that lire's Berthollet and Mr. M'Kernans work, both contain numerous explanatory plates of the utensils and machinery which are described and recommended in those works.

All solutions and decoctions of Brazil tvood, logwood, fustic, &c. should always be prepared in the same quantity and proportion, and one measure be invariably set apart for each. This observation is meant more particularly to apply to drugs in stock, always kept in a state of preparation ready for any process or work which may occur. The drugs just named may be kept in a prepared state; but weld boiled will not keep, nor will some others which are mentioned in the body of the work.

Weld, as it will not keep, should be used thus: a copper in proportion to the size of the work should always be used; and as weld will bear boiling and re-boiling, it can be boiled by the half bundle or more according as it may be wanted, whether you work little or much. If you are exact and near in your estimate, practice will soon render you perfect in any branch. It should be observed too, that to dye to pattern cannot be the result of a receipt, without a great latitude be left for the judgment.

The most difficult part of dyeing is that of light drabs, stone drabs, &c.

Nothing but practice will qualify you for this and all pattern dyeing: the way, and the only good way to obtain practice, is to work with all possible regularity. In the dyeing of fancy cloths in the clothing districts of Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, and other fine cloth manufactories, the mamifactiirers who dye their own cloths, as well as dyers of the greatest eminence, always number, measure, weigh, and time all the component parts of their various processes of dyeing. Such in fact ought to be the universal practice; and then a person of ordinary abilities may soon be able to perfect his processes and obtain the best results.

Hence, however, it is very necessary that the dyer should have a competent knowledge of chemistry and drugs, that he may be able to judge of the goodness of the articles which he uses, and of the numerous and extraordinary combinations into which they enter. To chemistry, in particular, every able and scientific dyer must be largely indebted; for this reason it is that we have endeavoured, in this introductory Chapter , to sketch some of the most important facts in this universal and interesting science.

In possession of these qualifications, and working upon the above plan, the dyer can never be far from the desired result in all his processes. His deviations, if any, will be few, as from his knowledge, he will soon perceive the first approach of any incorrectness, and be able to adjust it generally without much inconvenience.

The chemical terms now introduced into treatises on dyeing are chiefly taken from the Greek language, and are used in such a manner as to convey, by their etymology, an idea of the nature of the substances to which they are applied. Oxygen implies the producer of acid; hydrogen, the producer oi water; nitrogen, the producer of nitre, &c. The term gas has been explained above. Caloric is a term used by chemists for heat; but caloric is used in a more extensive signification than the term heat, thus: although a gas might possess no sensible heat, yet being in a gaseous state, it is assumed to contain a certain portion of caloric which keeps it in its gaseous state; the same observation will apply to liquids whether aqueous, oleous, or metallic.

All the measures mentioned in this work unless otherwise described are those usually called in this country WINE MEASURE, ond not those which have been introduced by a late act of parliament, called imperial MEASURES.

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