Smith, J.

Smith, J.
SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. 1830s Scotland
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Scottish inventor of the first endless chain of flats for carding.
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Carding by hand required a pair of hand cards. The lump of tangled fibres was teased out by pulling one card across the other to even out the fibres and transfer them onto one of the cards from which they could be rolled up into a rollag or slubbing. When Arkwright began to use cylinder cards, the fibres were teased out as they passed from one cylinder to the next. In order to obtain a greater carding area, he soon introduced smaller cylinders and placed strips of flat card above the periphery of the main cylinder. These became clogged with short fibres and dirt, so they had to be lifted off and cleaned or "stripped" at intervals. The first to invent a self-stripping card was Archibald Buchanan, at the Catrine mills in Ayrshire, with his patent in 1823. In his arrangement each flat was turned upside down and stripped by a rotary brush. This was improved by Smith in 1834 and patented in the same year. Smith fixed the flats on an endless chain so that they travelled around the periphery of the top of the main cylinder. Just after the point where they left the cylinder, Smith placed a rotary brush and a comb to clear the brush. In this way each flat in turn was properly and regularly cleaned.
Smith was an able mechanic and Managing Partner of the Deanston mills in Scotland. He visited Manchester, where he was warmly received on the introduction of his machine there at about the same time as he patented it in Scotland. The carding engine he designed was complex, for he arranged a double feed to obtain greater production. While this part of his patent was not developed, his chain or endless flats became the basis used in later cotton carding engines. He took out at least half a dozen other patents for textile machinery. These included two in 1834, the first for a self-acting mule and the second with J.C. Dyer for improvements to winding on to spools. There were further spinning patents in 1839 and 1844 and more for preparatory machinery including carding in 1841 and 1842. He was also interested in agriculture and invented a subsoil plough and other useful things.
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Bibliography
1834, British patent no. 6,560 (self-stripping card). 1834, British patent no. 656 (self-acting mule). 1839, British patent no. 8,054.
1841, British patent no. 8,796 (carding machine). 1842, British patent no. 9,313 (carding machine).
1844, British patent no. 10,080.
Further Reading
E.Leigh, 1875, The Science of Modern Cotton Spinning Manchester (provides a good account of Smith's carding engine).
W.English, 1969, The Textile Industry, London (covers the development of the carding engine).
RLH

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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