New Inventions. Dyeing Cloth in the Piece.

The New Monthly Magazine 10, 1820

It is universally known, that when cloth is dyed in the piece, the colour only fixes itself on the two surfaces, and hardly penetrates the middle of the cloth, so that when it is cut, the inner part appears white, or, at most, only faintly coloured, which is an incontestable proof that it has been dyed in the piece. Some colours — the cochineal scarlet, for example — can only be properly given to the cloth after it is manufactured, because the operations of carding, spinning, and fulling, would destroy the beauty of the dye; on this account the cochineal scarlet is the dye which sinks the least into the texture of the cloth, and shews the white seam very distinctly. The Count de la Boulaye-Marsillon, director and professor in the school of the Gobelins, has contrived a very simple and ingenious process for remedying this inconvenience. He supposes that the water with which the cloth is soaked before it is immersed in the dye vat, resists the introduction of the colouring matter within its fibres, and compels it to remain and be fixed on the surface. The author of this invention proceeds in the following manner: he fixes at the bottom of the boiler a kind of rolling press, the two cylinders of which are parallel to each other, and of course are as long as the breadth of the cloth to be dyed, and may be fixed at any requisite distance from each other, according to the thickness of the cloth. The cylinders are entirely immersed in the colour-bath. At opposite extremities of the boiler are fixed two winches, the axes of which are parallel to those of the cylinder. The piece of cloth is then fixed round one of the winches, and is wound off to the other, passing in its way through the cylinders of the rolling press, which are set so close to each other as to press the cloth considerably. This operation is continued backwards and forwards, from one winch to the other, till the dye is of sufficient intensity. The effect produced by this contrivance is obvious; the pressure of the cylinders forces out of the cloth the water which it had imbibed, and the colouring matter being instantly presented to it, meets with no obstacle to its thorough penetration.

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