A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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Sub-order 1.—Textile Workers

362.—Breakers, Rag Grinders, Hecklers, and Willowers

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bale breaker, bale breaker feeder ; bale opener, bale feeder
unfastens covering of bales of raw material; lifts material from opened bale, and spreads it on lattice feed of bale breaker machine; also watches proper working of lattices conveying material from machine to mixing stacks and to openers.
beater (silk)
maintains supply of waste silk, by hand feeding, to a beating machine, further to remove dust from silk received from scutcher (silk) q.v.
blender, rag
mixes rags, to get blend of required quality or shade, by spreading layers of different materials on floor of mixing room; gathers-up material and throws it into a machine, resembling scutcher, cf. scutcher feeder (flax or hemp), which completes blending.
blender, wool ; puller, puller-and-runner, wool mixer
mixes several different kinds of wool, under direction; pulls wool after blending, in preparation for scouring and willeying; in felt manufacture, piles wool into "blends," and mixes them in a shaker (willey).
blower, blower-up
feeds and operates blowing machine, which opens material in preparation for subsequent processes, and removes dirt therefrom; often further distinguished according to material opened, e.g., hair blower; cf. blower (399).
blowing engine man, blowing engine tenter, (obsolescent)
see blowing room operative.
blowing room operative, blowing room hand, blow room operative ; blowing engine man, blowing engine tenter (obsolescent)
general terms for operative employed in blowing room, where cotton is opened and scutched; includes bale breaker, blower, breaker feeder, finisher minder, hopper feeder, lap carrier, opener feeder, opener tenter, scutcher q.v.
breaker feeder, breaker tenter (cotton blowing room)
takes cotton, in loose masses, partly cleaned, from opening machine and passes it into scutcher q.v.
breaker, hair
as for willeyer.
breaker, hard waste ; hard waste tenter
feeds and operates machine which opens out hard cotton waste (waste from ring frames and from reeling and winding machines, cop bottoms and other thready waste) in preparation for re-spinning, or for use in manufacture of gun cotton.
breaker, hemp
(i) feeds hopper and turns handle of a hand machine, in which hemp is broken into short lengths for convenience in handling;
(ii) feeds hopper and watches proper working of power-driven machine; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. hand hemp breaker.
breaker, waste
see garnet machine operator.
breaker, wool; breaker-up (wool)
see willeyer.
buffer (flax)
feeds hopper and attends to machine which buffs, rubs and removes refuse and coxirse tow from flax, in preparation for scutching process.
bumble worker
see willeyer.
cleaner, rag ; rag shaker, whimseyer
minds machine which cleans rags, in preparation for grinding; carries bales of rags to and from cleaning machines.
cleaner, waste
cleans dry waste (sweepings, etc.) by placing it in a sieving or shaking machine; or cleans waste from wet spinning room by putting it under a press to extract moisture, then into a willeying or teasing machine, and then hanging it on racks to dry; after cleaning, packs it in bales; cf. shaker, waste; willeyer.
comber (fibre, hair)
(i) see hackler, fibre;
(ii) see hackler, hair.
cotton chamber man, cotton room man, cotton room worker
general terms for any worker employed in cotton mixing room, including bale breaker, cotton mixer, etc., q.v.
see roller, flax.
crusher, asbestos ; crushing machine man
feeds and operates machine which breaks up asbestos and prepares it for opening.
crusher attendant, jute
(i) see opener catcher, jute;
(ii) see opener feeder, jute.
crusher hand (ender)
see opener catcher, jute.
crusher hand (feeder)
see opener feeder, jute.
crushing machine man
see crusher, asbestos.
cutter, hemp
minds a machine which divides hemp fibre into convenient lengths; adjusts handful of hemp, and pushes it between gripping rollers, which carry it into- contact with blade.
deviller (cotton) ; devil tenter
(i) (hard waste spinning) feeds and operates a waste breaker or devil, which reduces spoiled cotton cops (waste from mule spinning) from hard, or twisted condition to soft condition suitable for spinning;
(ii) in some districts, see willow tenter (cotton waste);
(iii) in old mills spinning low counts of yarn, see scutcher (cotton).
deviller (hair)
see scutcher (hair).
deviller, waste
see garnet machine operator.
devil minder, devil worker
see willeyer.
devil tenter
see deviller (cotton).
doubler (cotton blowing or scutching)
(i) see finisher minder,
(ii) see finisher minder, doubler; cf. doubler (366).
doubler finisher tenter
see finisher minder, doubler.
dresser, fibre
see hackler, fibre.
dresser, flax
dresses flax, after it has been roughed, by passing it by hand over a series of finely graded hackles and switches, which complete combing out and splitting of fibres.
dresser hand (flax, hemp) ; hand hackler
combines work of rougher q.v. and of sorter (398) q.v.; process is in substitution for roughing and machine hackling.
dresser, hemp ; hemp hand dresser
as for dresser, flax.
see willeyer.
duster, wool
see willeyer.
dust shaker attendant
see shaker, waste.
ender (flax scutching) ; straightener
puts dry flax, after it has been retted, on a shaking table, which levels ends and straightens straw in readiness for flax roller q.v.
ender (flax spinning)
(E. Scotland) receives flax from machine hackler q.v. and combs ends by hand on small fine hackles.
feeder, bale
see bale breaker.
feeder (cotton blowing and scutching room)
see machine feeder.
feeder (jute)
see opener feeder, jute.
finisher (flax or hemp)
see scutcher (flax or hemp).
finisher minder, finisher tenter, finisher machine minder, finisher machine tenter ; doubler (cotton blowing or scutching) (occasional), finisher scutcher (cotton blowing room)
a scutcher tenter q.v. who minds last of series of opening and scutching machines; keeps machine supplied with laps of cotton; sometimes to get more uniform substance, partially unrolls three or four laps and superimposes them on machine feed lattice; takes off finished laps which are now ready for carding, finisher minder, doubler; doubler (cotton blowing or scutching), doubler finisher tenter; a finisher minder q.v. working at a machine manned by a double set of minders.
finisher scutcher
see finisher minder.
garnet machine operator, rag garnet worker, garnetter ; waste breaker, waste deviller, waste opener
keeps feed sheet replenished and controls by levers a garnet machine, which opens hard twisted woollen, worsted, cotton and silk waste, in preparation for carding.
goods machine minder (rope and twine)
as for hackler, machine.
grinder, asbestos
feeds and operates machine, of the pestle and mortar or centrifugal type which disintegrates asbestos to shreds.
grinder, rag; shoddy grinder ; rag puller, shoddy miller
feeds and operates machine (devil) which grinds rags to powder; carries rags to and from grinding machine.
hackler, bull
as for hackler, machine.
hackler, fibre ; fibre dresser, fibre heckler, comber (fibre)
hackles or combs fibre, by passing it over a long-toothed hackle, or card, of coarsely set wire teeth, to remove impurities and tangles.
hackler, hair ; comber (hair)
as for hackler, fibre; sometimes also cleanses hair with soap and water, before hackling.
hackler, hand
(i) see dresser, hand;
(ii) see rougher.
hackler, horsehair dry
takes handful of hair, holding one end in his hand, and drawing other end several times through hackle, a comb with coarsely set steel teeth, to loosen hair and open it out and to remove tangles and impurities; then places hair between two combs, so arranged as to hold it steady, and together forming a "card," for further combing; sometimes also washes and dries hair before hackling.
hackler, horsehair wet
as for hackler, horsehair dry, except that hackling is done while hair is still wet.
hackler, machine
hackling machine attendant; minds machine in which short and weak fibres are removed by action of steel pins; controls power-drive of machine, and clamps fibre into holders.
hackler, Manilla hemp
places Manilla hemp on feed sheet of a combined hackling and drawing machine, which straightens and attenuates it, i.e. draws it out and converts the long coarse fibres into sliver, i.e., loose ropy form; guides sliver into cans or baskets ready for preparing department.
hard waste tenter
see breaker, hard waste.
see rougher.
heckler, fibre heckler
(i) see hackler, fibre;
(ii) see rougher.
hopper feeder, hopper filler, hopper minder, hopper machine hand
places raw cotton in hopper feed of first in series of opening machines in cotton blowing room.
lap carrier ; lapper (blowing and scutching room)
carries cotton laps from one machine to next in order of process, generally from scutcher room to cards.
lap feeder (on scutcher)
see scutcher feeder (cotton).
lap machine minder, lap machine tenter
see scutcher (cotton).
lapper (blowing and scutching room)
see lap carrier.
lap springer ; lap thrower-on
places or "springs in" to position lap rollers taken off opener scutching machine, opposite feeds of finisher scutching machine, last in series of opening and scutching machines.
lap tenter, lapper tenter
see scutcher (cotton).
lattice feeder (cotton blowing room)
as for machine feeder.
machine feeder, machine feeder-on (cotton blowing and scutching room) ; feeder
general terms for any operative who feeds, by throwing cotton on to the lattice feed, any machine in blowing and scutching room, i.e., bale breaker, cotton mixer, opener feeder, scutcher q.v.
machine hand (hair)
general term covering workers attending hair preparing machines; includes opener (hair), teaser (hair), untwister (hair), willeyer q.v.
miller, shoddy
see grinder, rag.
mixer, cotton
directs and supervises mixing of different blends of cotton in fixed proportions, forming a mixing, or stack, which is conveyed to opening machine.
mixer, tow
mixes grades of tow in correct proportions, and takes mixture to carding machines.
mixer, wool
see blender, wool.
opener, asbestos
attends and feeds machine which loosens and cleans asbestos fibre, in preparation for carding; collects opened fibre in bags or trucks.
opener, bale
see bale breaker.
opener (cotton)
see opener tenter.
opener (hair)
(i) see untwister (hair);
(ii) opens out untwisted hair rope, loosening fibres which are more or less matted together, in preparation for carding or teasing; if using a machine, is sometimes designated machine opener;
(iii) (flax, hemp and jute); opens bales of hemp with hatchet, and loosens material, in preparation for hatching and machine hackling, entirely by hand, with a rake, with hand hammer and/or by feeding to steam hammer or to crusher machine, according to density of fibre and plant installed; cf. opener catcher, jute; opener feeder, jute; sometimes also does work of batcher (398) q.v.
opener, waste (machine)
see garnet machine operator.
opener, wool (felt manufacture)
places wool on brattice of machine which opens it out for use in manufacture of felt.
opener catcher, jute ; crusher hand (ender), jute crusher attendant
removes crushed fibre as it issues from jute opener machine; usually also assists in opening bales of jute.
opener feeder, opener machine feeder, opener tenter (cotton) ; opener (cotton), opener minder, opening machine hand
lays loose cotton on lattice feed of machine which opens and cleans it; sometimes specifically designated according to type of machine used, e.g., Crighton opener feeder, Crighton opener machine feeder, Crighton opener tenter.
opener feeder, jute ; crusher hand (feeder), feeder (jute), jute crusher attendant
opens hales of jute, and puts or feeds heads into machine which crushes fibre, ready for hatcher (398) q.v.
opener minder
see opener tenter.
opener scutcher tenter
an opener feeder q.v. who minds an opening machine with which is combined the lap-forming part of a scutcher.
opening machine hand
see opener tenter.
parter (silk)
opens bundles of raw silk, and separates them into smaller bundles.
picker, cotton ; cotton teaser
(i) passes dried raw cotton or cotton waste through a series of machines which tease and pick it, separating fragments of foreign matter, breaking up lumps and removing dust, in preparation for manufacture of gun cotton;
(ii) picks and teases cotton by hand.
preparer, preparing hand (flax or hemp)
general terms covering all operatives engaged in preparing flax or hemp for carding, drawing, and spinning, including breaker, dresser, machine hackler, rougher, softener q.v.; cf. preparer (363).
puller, rag
see grinder, rag.
puller (wool), puller-and-runner
see blender, wool.
retter, flax retter
places sheaves of flax straw in water in a pit or tank, until central stems have rotted and broken down enough to set free flax fibre, which grows up outside stalk; removes sheaves when process is complete and opens them out, to be dried.
ripper (shoddy)
see tearer, shoddy.
roller, flax ; crimper
passes flax straw through fluted rollers of machine, which break up core of stalk in preparation for stricker q.v. roller, hemp; hand hemp roller, see softener.
rougher (flax, hemp), hemp rougher ; fibre heckler, hand hackler, hatchellor, heckler
draws flax or hemp, . by hand, through a set of hackle pins, arranged in a wooden block, called a rougher's tool, to comb out short arnd irregular fibres and to level ends, in preparation for dressing or machine hackling.
sack hand
see untwister (hair).
screener (wool)
feeds and operates machine which cleans dirty wool, dirt falling through grid (screen) and being carried away by suction.
scutcher, lap scutcher (cotton) ; deviller (cotton) (old mills), lapper tenter, lap tenter, lap machine minder, lap machine tenter, scutcher minder, scutcher tenter
minds a scutching machine, which cleans cotton and delivers it in form of laps, i.e. smooth rolls resembling wadding; sets in motion guide controlling width of lap and causing it to wind on to roller; takes off lap roller when full and starts fresh one; clears away obstructions in machine.
scutcher, scutcher feeder (flax or hemp) ; finisher (flax or hemp)
lays together what is left of two handfuls of flax treated by buffer q.v.; thrusts this partially treated mass over top edge of a vertical iron plate, and moves it to and fro, exposing it to beating action of revolving handles or blades, which run close against face of plate, and which complete separation of straw from fibre; turns handful of flax end for end, and opens it so as to expose all parts to beater; then folds finished mass, and puts it aside to be weighed and parcelled.
scutcher (hair) ; deviller (hair)
feeds hopper and controls by levers a scutching machine (devil) which opens out hair fibre in preparation for carding.
scutcher (silk)
operates and attends a machine which loosens and straightens short fibres of silk waste, i.e., noils, and partially cleans ready for beater (silk) q.v.; feeds machine, by hand, and removes laps, i.e. smooth rolls of fibre resembling wadding, of scutched silk.
scutcher feeder (cotton) ; lap feeder (on scutcher)
feeds "laps" to scutching machine (see scutcher), or places by side of scutcher q.v. in charge of that machine; may also remove full laps from finisher scutcher and place aside for removal to carding machine.
scutcher minder, scutcher tenter (cotton)
see scutcher (cotton).
shaker, rag
see cleaner, rag.
shaker, waste (flax, hemp) ; dust shaker attendant
shakes sweepings in a sieve, or in a rotary sifting machine, to remove dust and dirt; puts clean sweepings into bales or bags.
shaker, shaker-up (wool)
see willeyer.
softener, hemp softener ; hand hemp roller, hemp roller
softens hemp fibre in preparation for treatment by hemp breaker q.v., by passing it through fluted rollers of a machine; controls power-drive of machine, and feeds it with hemp stalks.
straightener (flax)
see ender (flax, scutching).
stricker (flax)
receives flax straw as it issues from rollers; divides it up into convenient handfuls (stricks), and gives them a slight twist to make material hold together; passes stricks to scutcher q.v.
tearer, shoddy ; ripper (shoddy)
tears seams, collars, etc., from old garments, to facilitate passage of cloth through blending, grinding, etc., machines in shoddy manufacture; cf. blender, rag; grinder, rag.
teaser, cotton
see picker, cotton.
teazer, teazer man
see willeyer.
teazer, shoddy
see willeyer, rag.
thrower-on, lap
see lap springer.
tow feeder
(i) feeds, by hand, travelling band apron of breaker card, with tow; as for breaker feeder (363);
(ii) feeds carding engine, or mixing machine attached thereto.
trapper, wool
a wool blender q.v. who throws wool from one mixing room to another through trap doors in floor.
untwister (hair) ; opener (hair), sack hand
untwists, by hand, twisted hair rope made by curler (398) q.v., in preparation for carding or teasing.
weigher and feeder (cotton)
(i) weighs loose cotton when first rolled to form lap in lap machine, and passes it to scutcher q.v.
(ii) (in cotton wadding trade) weighs out material and passes it to carding engine.
see cleaner, rag.
willeyer, willey girl, willeyman, willier, willyer, willower, willowyer, willow tenter, willow machine minder ; breaker-up (wool), bumble worker, devil minder, devil worker, duler, shaker, shaker-up, teaser, teazer man, wool breaker, wool duster, woolley er
throws handfuls of wooI or hair, hemp or flax tow, etc., on to brattice or other feed apparatus of willeying machine, which separates fibres, and breaks up their natural matted state, and shakes out dirt and foreign matter therefrom, in preparation for carding; sometimes also blends materials together in process of willeying.
willeyer, rag ; shoddy teazer
minds and feeds willey machine, which prepares rags for grinding or garnetting.
willower, willowyer, willow tenter (cotton waste) ; deviller (cotton) (some districts)
feeds willowing or willeying machine,
see willeyer; sometimes also keeps it in running order, and is responsible for its efficiency.
see willeyer.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.