This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Singeing, All fabrics when taken from the loom are covered with surface-hairs or fibrous down, which have been raised up during the process of weaving. Those fabrics which are to be printed with patterns, or whose surfaces are to be finished with a luster, are first submitted to the operation of singeing or gassing. The apparatus generally used for hot plate singeing consists of a furnace surmounted by a metal plate, which is sometimes ridged on its surfrce. The cloth is first brought in contact with brushes which raise the loose nap on the cloth; then it is passed over the heated metal plate at a rapid rate, and is again wound on a roller. This operation removes all the surplus nap without injuring the cloth. Gas singeing is accomplished by drawing the cloth through the brushes and over a horizontal pipe perforated with rows of small holes, so that the gas issuing therefrom burns as a narrow sheet of flame. Cotton goods are afterwards bleached and calendered; woolen goods being pressed, ironed and folded. [See Gassing]