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as Miselle could comprehend its intri- standing close beside the cone, and atcacies, she was more than willing to tentively watching its surface. agree with him. But, like most won- The six ounces of fur are taken up derful contrivances, the principle, when in eight revolutions of the cone; and as explained, is very simple.
the supply ceases, the first workman, The body of this machine was a cop coming forward with a large wet cloth per box, perhaps four feet in height, in his hands, carefully wraps it about with concave sides widely separated at the cone, lifts it from the frame, rethe rear, but converging at the front to places it with another, and plunges the a very narrow aperture much wider at first into a tank of hot water. Removthe base than the apex. Opposite this ing it after a moment, he sets it upon aperture slowly revolved a cone of per- a bench, carefully unwraps it, turns it forated copper, whose use will present- upon the point with a sharp concussion, ly appear. At the rear of the machine and then cautiously disengages and was a form supporting a box divided peels off a conical, felted cap, very into small compartments, each of these weak, thin, and unreliable as yet, but compartments containing the six ounces still the whole substance and essence of fur requisite for one hat.
of the hat to be. Folding it with a A boy, taking the contents of one of peculiar twist, the workman lays this these compartments in his hands, spread shadowy hat-body upon a pile of othit thinly and evenly upon a leathern ers, again exchanges the cones, and apron, whose forward motion carried proceeds to manipulate a new subject. the fur between a pair of feed-rollers, “ The sides of this tunnel through and into the body of the machine, where which the fur flies upon the cone,” said it fell upon a cylinder fitted with several the head," are, as you perceive, made longitudinal lines of stiff bristles. The of thin sheet-copper, and can be bent rapid revolutions of this cylinder tossed closer, or pressed farther apart, as the the downy fur upward and forward, cre- operator chooses, thus directing more ating at the same time a powerful cur- of the fur to one part or another of the rent of air which swept it forward to cone. In forming the bodies of silk the mouth of the box, whence it issued hats, we press in the upper part of the in a light cloud, and, as if drawn by sides, so that more of the fur is thrown magnetism, attached itself at once to toward the base, and the brim of the hat the revolving copper cone.
is nearly twice as heavy as the crown.” As Miselle looked, a workman, com- “You employ cones of different sizes, ing forward, lifted this cone off the I perceive,” said Miselle, pointing to a frame upon which it stood, and re- set of shelves upon which were arplaced it by another, dripping wet, from ranged several of these articles. a tank of water close at hand. To this “Yes; the finer qualities of fur shrink the cloud of fur attached itself as before; much more than the poorer sorts, and and it was now explained that beneath so need to be formed upon a larger the cone, and beneath the floor of the cone in the first place. The largest room, was a steam fan, moving at the one measures about three feet in height, rate of four thousand revolutions in a and the smallest about two by eighteen minute. This fan, exhausting the air inches diameter at the base.” beneath the perforated cone, created a “Have n't you seen enough of this ? strong current toward it from every di- You are desperately in the way of these rection, - a maelstrom, in fact, which workmen,” murmured Mentor, as Misimply drew in the floating fur as it selle stood absorbed, watching the would have anything else, and in fact fleecy cloud flying from the mouth of did draw all sorts of motes and specks the tunnel, and spreading itself as if by from the surrounding atmosphere, which magic over the surface of the cone. A motes and specks were, if of any tangible hasty glance showed the suggestion to size, picked away by a second workman, be founded in fact, and she hurriedly removed herself to the neighborhood of into the boiling water, rolled up in a a bench on which lay a pile of the cloth, patted, pressed, opened out upon steaming and flimsy hat-bodies just his hands, folded anew, and finally from the forming-machine, a box of dipped again into the boiling water, refur, and a vessel of water. A workman, commencing the whole process. Some carefully unfolding one of the lat-bod- of these hat-bodies appeared to have ies, laid it upon a large coarse cloth, just come from the former, and some rolled it up, patted it with his hands, were shrunk to one third or one fourth unrolled it, patted and pressed it a little of their original size, although retaining then opened it out, and, holding it upon the same conical shape. Those arrived his two hands between himself and the at this stage were handled one at a window, looked attentively into the in- time, instead of in groups, and the side. Then laying it down, he took a workman frequently applied a gradulock of the dry fur, slightly wetted it in ated round roller to their surface to asthe vessel of water, and pressed it upon certain if they had reached the desired a spot in the hat-body, patting it on proportions. with his fingers.
“ This process,” explained the head, “He looks to find any thin places or “ is called sizing, because it is to bring flaws left by the forming-machine, and the hat down to the required size, not mends them, as you see,” remarked the with any reference to stiffening, which head; "and this rolling up and press- is quite another affair. After shrinking in the cloth is to give a little more ing, the hat-body is called a 'shell. A substance to the body before it goes to smart workman can turn off about four be felted. You see these that he has dozen shells in a day." done with are considerably more solid “ It must be a very unhealthy emthan they were at first. Next they go ployment,” suggested Miselle, compasto the sizing or planking room ; but sionately. "Standing in this hot steam, that is such a wet and steamy place that and handling these things wet with boila lady can hardly go through it com- ing water, and then going out of doors, fortably."
must give the men terrible colds." Terrified at this suggestion of omit- “O, I do not think there is any ting'any part of the process, Miselle trouble about that,” replied the head hastened to declare herself passionately whom she addressed. “ How is it, addicted to visiting wet and steamy Brown? do you call this unhealthy places, an assertion supported by Men- work?” tor with a shrug of comic resignation ; “Not a bit of it, sir, if a fellow puts and the heads led the way across a
his coat on before he goes out, and gets sloppy court-yard to a vague and misty enough of it to do," said Brown, conchamber, its confines hid in the reeking tentedly, as he splashed a shell in and clouds issuing from half a dozen boiling out of the boiling water. caldrons. Several windows were open, “The next process is shaving," said but the heavy November air, instead of the head, opening a door, above which stirring the fog, only seemed to render Miselle looked to see a striped red and it denser and more unbreathable. white pole, but, finding none, followed Vaguely looming through it were seen with some curiosity into a little room, the forms of men arranged in circles where sat a remarkably jolly old man about the caldrons, and bending de- representing the barber, and flourishvoutly over them. Closely approaching ing, by way of razor, a long, thin, and one of these groups, Miselle discovered exceedingly sharp knife. Beside him that the caldron was surrounded by a lay a pile of shells, and, with another bench, or frame, about two feet in width, upon his knee, the jolly old man was and that upon this bench, in front of scraping away at its surface, whistling each workman, lay a little pile of the · merrily the while, it may be with a view hat-bodies, which he constantly dipped of keeping the cloud of pungent and choking dust that surrounded him from Considering within herself the merentering his lungs.
ciful dispensation by which the callous “ You see some hairs will make their always comes at last to those who way into the felt in spite of all our care have strength to endure the torture, to prevent it,” explained the head ;“and Miselle followed her companions into this process is to remove them from the the drying - room, where, laid upon outside. The inside is of no conse- frames and hung upon pegs, the hats quence, as the hat is to be lined, and remain for twenty-four hours in a temthat is one mode of distinguishing a fur perature of about 100°. from a wool felt hat. The fur has al- “ From this," went on the head, ways some long hairs upon the inner “they are taken to the dye-room. All surface; the wool, of course, has none. black or dark hats are colored, but the
“ And what comes after shaving ?” white, pearl-colors, and light grays are inquired Miselle, retreating from the left in the natural color of the fur. impracticable atmosphere.
After dyeing they are blocked again, “ Blocking. This way, if you please”; and then brought back here for another and the unwearied head led the way drying. After this they are stiffened back to the caldrons, beside one of by dipping the brims into a solution of which stood a workman, dipping the gum shellac, and sponging the inside shaved “shells” into the boiling water, with a dilution of the same. Lightand then fitting them, by means of his colored hats are stiffened with white. hands and a piece of curved wood, upon shellac, and ladies' white hats are often blocks shaped like the crown of a hat. merely starched. The shellac is reAfter remaining for a moment upon the moved from the outside of the hat by block, the lat was slipped off, moulded immersion in a vitriol bath. When permanently into the shape it was to imperfectly removed, it causes the shiny retain, and cured forever of the pyram- and spotted appearance sometimes noidal tendencies hitherto distinguish- ticed upon a hard-finished felt. Would ing it.
you like to look into our carpenter's A number of blocks lay upon a bench shop ?” at hand, and the head pointed out their Expressing an eager desire to inseveral shapes and purposes. These spect the carpenter's shop, and wonwere various, comprising tall and awk- dering what possible use it could serve ward ones for gentlemen's stove-fun- in such an establishment, Miselle was nels, odd little ones for ladies' and chil- led up a short flight of steps to a dren's head-gear, a huge and massive room charmingly fresh and clean, after one for shaping a Quaker's broad-brim, the sloppiness of the steam-bath just and finally a conical hollow-tipped one quitted, and containing a wheel, a man, designed for the traditional chapeau a bench, many shavings, and several of a stage-brigand. This was at the piles of pieces of wood. moment in use, and Miselle had the “ You are familiar with the lathe, I satisfaction of watching the manufac- suppose,” suggested the head. ture of a villanous-looking hat, des- Miselle shook her own head, vaguely, tined, perhaps, to figure before her eyes, but Mentor, quietly touching the wheel, in time to come, amid the scenes of remarked : “Turning-lathe. You make Lucrezia or Ernani.
your own blocks, then, sir ? " “Blocking is very trying work for the “O yes. They are turned in several hands,” remarked the head; “they gen- pieces, and then fitted together with erally skin at first, and become quite great accuracy. Those used in finishsore; but after a while they callous, and ing are in five pieces, those used in hardly feel the difference between hot blocking only in two. The material is and cold water. The palms of this white-wood." man's hands are calloused half an inch "* Cuts like cheese,'" quoted Viendeep."
tor, watching the block in progress VOL. XXII. - NO. 132.
beneath the hands of the silent work- now appeared to have discovered him ; man.
for, diving a pair of long tongs into the “And now, if you please, we will go white-hot coals, he brought out a sparkup to the finishing-rooms,” remarked ling mass of something, securely imthe heads; and again Miselle followed, prisoned it in a box-iron, and, coming up a long flight of stairs to a large up back to his bench, began vigorously per chamber fitted with benches around pressing and smoothing another black the sides and through the middle. At hat, twin-brother to the one still sufone end was an intense coal fire in a fering under the pouncer's hands, ocsort of furnace, and at the back of the casionally facilitating the process by room a row of boilers with steam issu- wetting his work with a bit of sponge ing from around the covers.
dipped in water. “ The first operation of finishing," “That is for a smooth-finished hat," blandly proceeded the head, “is to continued the head; “ but we have dip the hat into boiling water, and to invented a new style in which we fancy stretch it upon a finishing-block, where ourselves unrivalled. It is called velit is confined by means of a string tied vet finish, and is effected by the use of tightly around the base of the crown, steam without hot iron. You will see and another around the edge of the the process by watching this operator." brim ; for these blocks, you perceive, This operator, having by much coaxhave brims as well as crowns. As ing induced a small and very pretty soon as the hat is snugly fitted upon feminine hat to allow itself to be fitted the block, it is pounced, - an operation to a block, raised the cover of one of you will see here." And the head the steaming boilers, and placed the perpointed to a workman, who, with a verse little beauty across the top. After black hat secured upon a block in a few moments' steaming he took it off, the manner described, was vigorously rubbed and pressed it with his hands, scrubbing away at it with a piece of steamed it again, and finally finished paper, causing a cloud of dust and an by pouncing. odor of dye-stuff highly displeasing to “ You see what a surface they get by the unprofessional nose.
this steaming process,” remarked the “ The paper he uses,” continued the head, taking up a coquettish little head, presenting a scrap of it to Mi- “ breakfast - plate” from the bench, selle, “is the finest of emery-paper, where it lay completed. Miselle passed hardly rougher to the touch than or- her fingers across the crown, and saw, dinary paper, but still with sufficient or rather felt, the propriety of the term power to remove all the trifling ine- velvet-finish, for never mouse's back qualities of the surface, and give it the or baby's cheek presented a softer rich velvety look and feeling peculiar surface. to first-class felt. When the outside of - Velvet-finish hats are never touched the hat is done, he will remove it from by a hot iron,” repeated the head, tenthe block, and lay it in one of these derly smoothing another specimen of circular openings in the bench, - thus the same style. “That would spoil bringing the under side of the brim their peculiar effect, both to the eye and uppermost, to receive its proper share touch. They are rubbed into shape by of attention. The next thing with the the hand, or at most by these little ordinary style of hats is to press them blocks of wood shaped, as you perceive, with a hot iron. That man is about to to fit closely into the angle of the crown get a slug out of the furnace for this and brim. When a hat, of whatever purpose.”
style, comes off the block here in the The individual thus pointed out had finishing-room, its future shape is combeen for some moments gazing into pletely fixed. No further alteration can the furnace as attentively as if he ex- take place, except the new process of pected to find a salamander there, and curling the brim, and that is not done until the very last thing. First the brim is left raw and ragged. They are hat must be trimmed; and we will look going to be curled, and after that will at that process before going farther, if come back to be bound. Shall we you please.”
follow them?” The trimming-room was a large, And they followed a boy carrying the cheerful apartment, lighted by sunshine hats up or down stairs to a little room, and pretty faces, for the operators here where a workman just leaving his bench were all girls ; some seated at sewing- was induced to return and curl a brim, machines, and some at low tables cov. "just once more," for Miselle's espeered with scraps of bright-colored silks, cial benefit. strips of enamelled leather, and imple- The first step in this process, as it ments of needle-work.
appeared, was to open a box-iron, throw As the visitors went their rounds, out the lump of cold metal within, and some of these girls leaned demurely replace it by a freshly captured salaover their work, some looked brightly mander. The next was to lay a hat up, or glanced slyly at Mentor, but all upon the bench, wet the brim with cold without exception appeared so respect water, pass the iron round it, and, able, so cheerful, and so prosperous, while it was still steaming, to lay upon that Miselle in her heart thanked God it a thin semicircle of steel about half and the noble institutions of her native as wide as the brim. The edge of the land that these her sisters were saved brim thus left exposed was then turned from the harsh labor or degrading asso- back upon the steel semicircle, wetted ciations by which women of their class again, pressed again, and never let in other countries are forced to earn alone until it had consented to its new their daily bread.
condition, and lay back upon the steel Pausing beside one of the tables, the semicircle as flat and stiff as if it had indefatigable conductor took up a stiff been its original intention so to appear. black hat of the half-pumpkin style, so This operation complete, the hat was universal upon the manly head at the passed to another workman, who with present moment.
a curious little gauge, fitted with a keen “ The first thing toward trimming a blade upon its under side, carefully hat of this sort,” said he, “is to sew trimmed the brim to its required prothis round of finely split whalebone portions, - that is to say, cut it nearly around the outer edge of the brim. away at the front and back, and left it Then a piece of black cloth is stitched of the full width at the sides. on for an under-brim, the 'tip'of silk “This trimming process used to be with a label stamped in gilt letters upon regulated by the workman's own eye,” it is placed inside the crown, the sides said the head. “But this little gauge, are lined, the 'sweat,' or strip of enam- recently invented, does the business elled leather, is put around the base of more neatly, more quickly, and far more the crown, and finally the edge is certainly. This is the latest thing in bound, and the band and buckle put curling, and makes a very stylish artion. Of course, however, the different cle,” continued he, taking up the hat, styles of hat require different treat- and surveying it proudly. “ After this ment. A soft hat is only lined and it only requires to be bound, before it bound, sometimes not lined except with will be ready for use. The curve in a'sweat'; and ladies' hats are finished the brim of a soft hat is made upon the in a dozen different styles, according to block in the process of finishing, and the the shape and fashion. The present same process is used to form the confavorite style, however, for men's hats, vex brims of some styles of ladies' hats. is the stiff round crown and curled “When entirely finished, the hats, brim. The hats on this table, you nicely papered, are packed in cases perceive, are all finished even to the to be forwarded to the West, the South, band and buckle, while the edge of the Down East, or to our city customers.