In the manufactures of cotton and wool, an instrument used for preparing those substances for being spun into thread, by strengthening the fibres, and rendering them parallel to each other. They are a species of brush, composed of wires stuck through strips of leather, and not standing erect, but inclined to the surface of the leather, and are used by filling the teeth of one card with the cotton or wool, and drawing another card along in a direction against the inclination of the teeth, by which means the fibres are drawn out in a parallel direction, and transferred from the one card to the other. Carding was originally performed by hand with sheets of cards nailed upon thin boards, which were drawn against each other. Stock cards were subsequently introduced: in these one card was nailed to an inclined post or bend, and a hand card drawn over it; but at present the cards are generally arranged upon cylinders, which revolve either against other card cylinders, or against fixed cards.
From the immense number of cards required in cotton mills, the manufacture is one of great extent and importance, and several very curious machines have been invented for facilitating the processes, though they have s s not yet come into common use. In general the leather is pierced by machinery at the manufacturers', who send it out to the cottagers, together with the wire, which they cut and bend into form, and afterwards insert in the holes of the leather. The workman first takes a skein or bundle of wire, consisting of 30 or 40 wires, and placing them against a gauge, cuts the whole at one operation to the same length, by means of a strong pair of shears. The wires thus cut are then placed in another gauge, and a piece of steel, of the same width as the two legs are to be asunder, is then pressed across the middle of them, and the ends of the wires, first on one side, and then the other, are turned up against the sides of the bridge, forming the wire into a staple like this they are then given the knee bend, which brings them into this shape by an ingenious machine kept in motion by a weight, like a roasting jack, after which they are inserted in the leathers by women or children.