Art of Dyeing. - Drab Color.

Scientific American 40, 24.6.1848

For the Scientific American.

This is a color that looks well on coarse goods, or rather makes coarse goods look well, and for country millers, or farmers that have no work among burnt and black logs, we cannot too strongly urge the propriety of having their home made clothes for many purposes - such as vest and pants, of this color. A drab color is just a light brown, but for a beautiful and fast color a very different stuff is selected to dye the drab, from those stuffs employed to dye brown. Crop madder, which is to be found at all the druggists, is the principal stuff. For any quantity of cloth or yarn that the dye kettle may conveniently hold, a small quantity of the ground madder is scalded with boiling water in a clean vessel and set aside to settle. A small dipper full of this along with a little (very little) fustic liquor, and sumac liquor, is put into the dye kettle and when at full boil, the goods are entered loosely (if cloth,) and well handled, (if yarn,) well tuned and quickly. In about twenty minutes the goods are taken out, and some more of the dye stiff liquors added, and the same process repeated. This is done until what is called a "full body," is acquired by the goods, when they are taken out and a small quantity of the sulphate of iron added to the boiler, when the top of the boiler is skimmed of its dirty froth, and the goods entered and darkened, or saddened, as it is technically termed, then taken out and washed. If the drab is wanted on the yellow shade, the greater is the quantity of fustic used if on the salmon, the greater the quantity of madder, and the sumac and iron according to their quantities so are the drabmade dark. Madder alone upon a white ground makes a clear salmon color and it will wash most beautifully, in fact soap seems to have a wonderful effect in beautifying all madder colors. For carpet yarn, a small quantity of fustic and camwood makes a very good drab and also salmons. A little sulphuric acid is used in the boiler to redden or raise the color. We do not expatiate on the philosophy or theory of dyeing, although we might, but we give te results of practice, a part in which few of the theorists dare indulge without some risk of scientific reputation. n sme parts of our country, we know that there is very fine wool raised and made into large twilled heavy shawls by our farmers' daughters. We have seen some of them a good white and they looked well, others we have seen that were attempted to be dyed with the luck of the leopard's skin. To those who would dye their own woolen goods we say, be very careful to boil and handle well and do not have too great strength of stuffs in the boiler, rather have the liquor weak and take longer time to dye, by often taking out the goods and adding a little at a time of the dye liquors.

Madder colors have sadly gone out of fashion much to the injury of permanent colors, both on cotton and woolen goods. As there are various tracts of land and a suitable climate to raise this dye stuff in the United States, it is to be hoped that it will become both a cheaper and a greater favorite of a dye drug. This we hope will be the case for many reasons, two of which are, that it dyes fast colors and with various mordaunts, an endless number of shades from the red to the drab, and the deep purple.

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