The Cotton Industry - Glossary of Terms

Bale

A large package of raw cotton tightly bound and often wrapped.

Beam

A roller on a loom.
Warp beam - a roller at the back of the loom on which warp is wound.
Cloth beam - a roller at the front of the loom on which the woven cloth is wound.

Bobbin

A spool on which thread is wound.

Boll

The seedpod of the cotton plant.


Calico

White cotton cloth often printed with a pattern.

Carding

Disentangling and straightening the fibres of raw cotton or wool.

Cop

A tube carrying yarn.


Devil

A machine for loosening the raw fibres.


Finishing

A series of processes by which cloth is made ready for use e.g. bleaching, dyeing, printing.

Fustian

A coarse cloth of cotton/linen or cotton/wool mixture.


Gin

A machine for removing the seeds from the cotton fibre.

Grey cloth

Unbleached cloth.


Heald

A part of the loom that separates the warp threads to form the gap or shed through which the shuttle passes.


Jenny

A spinning machine invented by James Hargreaves.


Lap

A thick sheet of fibres.

Loom

A weaving machine.


Mule

A spinning machine invented by Samuel Crompton, combining elements of the jenny and the water frame.


Picker

A block of leather or wood which knocks the shuttle across the loom.

Piece Work

Payment by the amount of cloth produced rather than the hour.

Pirn

A type of cop holding the yarn.


Ring Frame

A spinning machine in which the spindle turns within a ring.

Roving

A thin, drawn out sliver ready for spinning.


Scutcher

A machine which breaks up and opens the raw cotton in preparation for carding.

Shed

1 - The gap in the warp through which the shuttle carries the weft thread.
2 - A weaving factory.

Shuttle

The device that carries the weft thread across the loom.

Sliver

A soft rope of loosened cotton taken from the carding machine.

Spindle

A thin tube on to which the spun yarn is wound.

Spinning

Drawing out and twisting fibres to make threads.


Throstle

A spinning machine developed from the water frame.


Warp

The lengthway threads in a loom.

Water frame

A spinning machine invented by Richard Arkwright.

Weaving

The crossing of warp and weft threads to make cloth.

Weft

The crossway threads in a loom, carried by the shuttle.

Winding

Creating bobbins or spools of yarn.


Yarn

A spun thread.