This earth is hard, firm, and of a compact texture, but soft to the touch, and neither stains the hands nor easily breaks between the lingers. Its surface is somewhat rough and harsh ; it dissolves easily in the mouth ; and, in a slight degree, adheres to the tongue. When thrown into water, it does not cause any effervescence, but gradually increases in size, and subsides in a fine soft powder.
The largest stock of the finest fullers'-earth in the world is obtained from the pits at Wavedon, nearWoburn, Bedfordshire; where strata of it are found at the depth of ten or twelve feet from the surface of the ground. This earth is also found in abundance, and of a good quality, in certain pits near Brick-hill, in the county of Staf-ford ; nearRyegate, Surrey; Maidstone, Kent; and in the vicinity of Nutley and Petworth, in the coun-ty of Sussex.
Incalculable quantities of ful-lers'-earth are consumed in this country, in the scouring of cloths, stuffs, etc.; for which it is of the greatest utility, as it imbibes all the grease and oil used in the preparing, dressing, etc. of wool. For this reason, it is declared to be a contraband commodity, and is prohibited to be exported, under the penalty of one shilling for every pound weight. - As an article of domestic economy, it might be more frequently employed than it is at present, especially in the clean ing and scouring of wooden floors and wainscots, being an excellent substitute for soap, of which great quantities are now consumed, and unnecessary expences of housekeeping thus incurred.