Cotton Mill Terminology

Raw stock is simply fluffy unbaled cotton.

The opening room is where wrapping bands, ties and identification are removed from the cotton bales and the raw stock is then put into “hoppers,” the machines that open the cotton and transfer it to cleaning machines.

The picker room is next in the mill process. It has picker machines that clean the cotton somewhat and even out it's weight, and roll up the cotton onto “laps,” similar in design to cotton you get in rolls at the drug store for cleaning wounds, only the laps are about 60 feet long and weigh about 80 pounds.

The card room turns the laps into “sliver” The sliver then is taken to machines called “draw frames.” These machines have eight to ten different cans of card sliver that is run together to even out it's weight and quality, and the end product is “drawing sliver.” The drawing sliver is taken to machines called slubbers, or Rovematics, and these machines draft out the sliver into “roving.” Roving is then moved to spinning where it is drafted down in size to the yarn count you are seeking. An important element in the carding process is getting the cotton fibers “parallel” or side by side, so that subsequent processes can continue to draft and position the fibers for making workable yarn

The dye house contained a number of very large pressurized vats. Two items were put in the dye vats. One was packages of yarn wound on stainless steel dye sleeves or small “cones.” The other item was yarn wound on stainless steel warper beams, containing perhaps 200 single, “ends” of yarn wound side by side.

The machine shop was where gears, shafts and other items were cut or made. Plumbing, steam and electrical problems were handled. Motors and gear boxes were repaired and replaced. Some experimental equipment was made.

Buzz Biggerstaff, who provided this information, cautions that “this work should done by professionals, do not try it at home.”