5

COTTON

Cotton is the product of the cotton plant, and looks, when massed together in the boll, like a soft, fluffy ball. Under the microscope the cotton appears as a flat spirally-twisted tube, and it is upon this naturally twisted formation of fibre that the strength of the yarn when spun depends, this enabling extremely fine counts to be spun.

From the time the cotton is harvested in the cotton fields until it is spun into yarn, it is subjected to many processes, all of which are designed towards the cleaning of the cotton. Seeds and all foreign matter are removed before the fibres are straightened out to make the cotton yarn. As is the case with all textile fibres, cotton has many different grades, these being determined by the length of the fibre (or staple) also its colour and strength.

These fibres range in length from ¾" (various Indian varieties) to 1¾" (Sea Island types). These latter types are the ones used in the manufacture of a high-grade stocking, being sometimes utilised in the making of an all-cotton hose. Great use is made of them in heel, sole and toe reinforcement, these being the areas which are subjected to the heaviest wear. A fine count of yarn is used in these operations, only the smooth, long fibres spun into fine counts being used. These are characterised by a silky, regular thread.

The bales of cotton arriving at the spinners are broken open, and the compressed cotton is put through a “breaker-picker”, when any seeds and foreign matter not taken away in the “ginning” process in the cotton fields, are removed. The cotton comes out in the form of a roll (called “lap”). As, for the production of an even yarn, the fibres are required to be straight, the lap is conveyed to a carding machine for the straightening—or parallelising—of the fibres, and here the lap is brushed out into a thin mist-like sheet, after which it is shaped into a round form, called a “sliver”. Twenty of these slivers are then combined to produce another lap (or blanket, as it is sometimes referred to) which is then wound into rolls, several of which are

STOCKINGS

temperature is not exceeded. (In this connection it is, of course, understood that no silk or synthetic hosiery should be laundered in hot water, but in luke-warm only.)

Moth and mildew resistance. A point of interest to trade and public alike—nylon stockings, being made from yarn of mineral origin, are absolutely proof against moth attack. They are also proof against attack by fungi such as those responsible for mildew. Nylon fabric, therefore, does not deteriorate with keeping.

Influence of light. All ordinary textile materials are injured more or less by long exposure to ordinary light—even indoor light—and nylon is no exception to this general rule. Strong, 'direct sunlight, or other source of ultra-violet light, is still most injurious to textile fabrics, and again nylon is no exception. On the basis of tests made, however, nylon stockings are at least equally as resistant to indoor and outdoor light as are stockings made from silk. Nylon hose undergo no appreciable deterioration in the absence of light, and may accordingly be stored for long periods of time without injury.

The advent of nylon has resulted in the manufacture of a seamless type of hose without the usual mock-seam and imitation fashion markings at the back, and with a very close fitting ankle, this being made possible by the pre-boarding to which the nylon fabric is subjected. The fact that the finished article when worn has originated a so-called “no-seam” fashion in America is sufficient testimony to the smoothness of its texture and the slickness of its fit.

The word “nylon” has no significant derivation, nor do the individual letters n-y-l-o-n stand for anything, but it was thought desirable that the name chosen should bear resemblance to the words “cotton” and “rayon”, hence the similarly-sounding name, and the common last syllable.