This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
It is well known that there are several serious drawbacks in the usual plan of pressing woolen or worsted cloths and felts with press plates, press papers, and presses. Three objections of great weight may be mentioned, and events in Leeds give emphasis to a fourth. The three objections are--the labor required in setting or folding the cloth, the expense of the press papers, and the time required. The fourth objection, about which a dispute has occurred between the press-setters and the master finishers in Leeds, refers to the inapplicability of the common system to long lengths. The men object to these on account of the great labor involved in shifting the heavy mass of cloth and press plates to and from the presses. A minor drawback of this system is that it involves the presence of a fold up the middle of the piece. On account of these drawbacks it has long been understood to be desirable to expedite the process, and also to dispense with the press papers. This is the main purpose of the machine we now illustrate in section, in which the pressing is done continuously by what may be termed a species of ironing. The machine consists of a central hollow cylinder, C, three-quarters of the circumference of which is covered by the hollow boxes, M, heated by steam through the pipes shown, and which are mounted upon the levers, BB', whose fulcra are at bb. By means of the hand-wheel, T, and worm-wheel, n, which closes or opens the levers, BB', the pressure of the boxes upon the central roller may be adjusted at will, the spring-bolt, F, allowing a certain amount of yield. The faces of the press-boxes, MM, are covered by a curved sheet of German silver attached to the point, Y. This sheet takes the place of the press papers in the ordinary process. The course of the cloth through the machine is as follows, and is shown by the arrows: It is placed on the bottom board in front, and in its travel it passes over the rails, O, after which it is operated on by the brush, Z, leaving which it is conveyed over the rails, V and I, the rollers, K and P, and thence between the pressing roller, C, and the German silver press plate covering the heated boxes, M. Leaving these the piece passes over the roller, P, and is cuttled down in the bottom board by the cuttling motion, F, or a rolling-up motion may be applied. The maker states that arrangements for brushing and steaming may also be attached, so that in one passage through the machine a piece may be pressed, brushed, and steamed. The speed of the cylinder may be adjusted according to the quality or requirements of the goods that are under treatment. At the time of our visit, says the Textile Manufacturer, printed woolen pieces were being pressed at the rate of about four yards a minute, but higher speeds are often obtained. Messrs. Taylor, Wordsworth & Co., who have erected many of these machines in Leeds, Bradford, and Batley, inform us that they find they are adapted for the pressing of a wide variety of cloths, from Bradford goods and thin serges to the heavy pieces of Dewsbury and Batley. The inventor, Ernst Gessner, of Aue, Saxony, adopts an ingenious expedient for pressing goods with thick lists. He provides an arrangement for moving the cylinder endwise, according to the different widths of the pieces to be treated. One list is left outside at the end of the cylinder, and the other at the opposite end of the pressing boxes. The machine we saw was 80 in. wide on the roller, and it was one the design and construction of which undoubtedly do credit to Mr. Gessner.