The Dyer's Guide. Chapter II. On Dyeing Cotton. To dye cotton a fast buff.

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,

Take a brown stone pan or pipkin, glazed. It must not be the common glazed wares, because these are glazed with lead, and the acids will dissolve the lead; if, therefore, such are used, the lead being dissolved, will be mixed with the dyeing materials, and sometimes totally spoil the dye. Stone-ware, if used with care, will bear the fire: such ware is usually glazed with muriate of soda or common salt.

Having a proper vessel capable of holding from two quarts to a gallon, fill it half-full of strong nitric acid, to which add, in small quantities at a time, either old horse-shoe nails from the farrier, they being the purest iron, or the cuttings of tin-plate from the tin-man's, for this is also very pure iron, although covered with tin; but the small portion of tin in the iron is not inimical to the dye. Be careful not to put too much in at a time, nor to stoop near to it while the solution is going on, as the red fumes arising are very noxious; and if the iron be added in large quantity, so much effervescence would be produced, that a considerable part of the liquor would be thrown over the top of the vessel.

When this solution is prepared in haste the air is greatly contaminated, and therefore it is best to prepare it long before it is wanted, and slowly, by dropping hourly small quantities of the iron into the acid, and then little if any perceptible fumes will arise. Continue this process till, by stirring with a glass rod or tobacco-pipe, you find the iron dissolves more slowly: by keeping a little iron at the bottom, and occasionally adding the acid, you may always have this preparation at hand.

It is to be used thus: — having a copper of hot water ready, put a part of it to some cold in a flat tub till the mixture is as hot as the hand will bear; then, according to the paleness or fulness of your pattern, add some of the solution of iron, and mix it well by stirring: begin with about half a pint for two pieces of twenty-four yards each: it is best to add a smaller quantity than is necessary first, as you can make another addition as you please, but, if you add the solution in excess, to diminish it is by no means so easy. Now, having ready a flat tub with water of as hot a temperature as the hand will bear, put into it a clear solution of pearl-ash, and have also ready another tub of clear cold water to wash off in; then pass the pieces (always taking care to have them well wetted out in one of the tubs of hot water before either the solution of iron or pearl-ash is put into either of them) through the solution of iron six or seven times, edging them over by the selvage to keep them even; next, folding them first even upon a board, vvring them out, wash them off and pass them through the solution of pearl-ash; lastly, wash them off again in fresh and clean water: a permanent and bright buff will be found, and as good a colour as can be dyed upon cotton.

We here see what an affinity iron and cotton have for each other when the iron is combined with an acid and the combination in a liquid state. Although the colour is not so beautiful in every instance, yet, be the acid which dissolves the iron what it may, cotton imbibes the iron from it.

What is left of the solutions of iron and the pearl-ash may each be kept in a separate deal tub for use.

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