Carding. The process of opening and combing wool, flax, hemp, cotton, for the purpose of disentangling the fibers, cleansing from extraneous matter, separating the coarser parts, and making fine and soft for spinning. Upon the successful performance of this operation much of the beauty of the manufactured material depends. Carding was once necessarily performed by hand, coarse wire brushes being used. The old-time hand cards consisted of short wires passed slantingly through leather strips, which were then nailed upon a board. Two of these brushes were always used by the operator, one in each hand. The first carding engine was patented in England in 1748 by Lewis Paul, and afterward greatly improved by Ark -wright. In the earlier carding machines the fibers were fed by hand to a cylinder upon which "cards" were laid in strips parallel to the axis, and were removed from these strips by hand as they became full. In modern cotton-carding machines a loose roll of fibers, called a lap, is placed in guides which deliver it to the feed-roll, on passing through which it is seized by the card-teeth of the main cylinder. Other small cylinders successfully remove the fibers from, and deliver them to, the main cylinder, all the while getting them more and more in the desired order. The tangles and knots, which are not loosened by the action of these cylinders, project beyond the teeth of the main cylinder and are caught by top-cards from which they are removed and cleared by hand. The original lap, finally drawn together into a ribbon or sliver, traverses a funnel or trumpet and is passed between successive pairs of rollers, which draw out and condense the sliver and deliver it to the drawing-frame where it is doubled and drawn preparatory to spinning. [See Spinning] For fine work the operation of carding is repeated. The principle of the wool-carding machine is identical with that of the cotton-carding machine, being chiefly distinguished from the latter by a great number of small cylinders called urchins. Wool fibers are always oiled to prevent felting and facilitate carding. [See Felting, Wool, Cotton, Linen]