2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Scotland - Verdant Works: Scotland's Jute Museum

Verdant Works was a jute processing factory located in Dundee, Scotland.  It started in the 1830's with the processing of jute to make rope, burlap sacks, sales, canvases, carpeting and even clothing.  The tour starts in the old works office.

The docent acted the part of the manager of the Works and described the functioning and personnel of the office.

The manager's office consisted of a partitioned off area.

Interior of the managers cubicle

The story of jute starts in India with the growing and harvesting of jute.

According to Wikipedia, "Retting is a process employing the action of micro-organisms and moisture on plants to dissolve or rot away much of the cellular tissues and petins surrounding bast-fibre bundles, and so facilitating separation of the fibre from the stem.  The most widely practised method of retting, called water retting, is performed by submerging bundles of stalks in water. The water, penetrating to the central stalk portion, swells the inner cells, bursting the outermost layer, thus increasing absorption of both moisture and decay-producing bacteria. Retting time must be carefully judged; under-retting makes separation difficult, and over-retting weakens the fibre. In double retting, a gentle process producing excellent fibre, the stalks are removed from the water before retting is completed, dried for several months, then retted again"

Final separation of the fibre is accomplished by a breaking process in which the brittle woody portion of the straw is broken, either by hand or by passing through rollers, followed by the another operation which removes the broken woody pieces (shives) by beating or scraping

The expansion of Dundee's jute industry made the improvement of Dundee's port imperative.

We entered an area that had factory machines that processed the jute.  A former factory worker turned on machines and demonstrated them for us.  They were extremely noisy and it is hard to imagine the din of dozens of them operating at the same time.

How 400 pound bales of jute were moved in the 1970's.

Former factory worker demonstrating one of the machines.  Most factory workers were women and it was quite common for the men of Dundee to stay home and take care of the children.

Weaving is carried out on looms.  The shuttle carrying the weft thread is picked forward and backwards by the action of a picking arm, interlacing the weft with the warp threads.  The warp threads, which are raised and lowered, are drawn from the beam at the back of the loom.  The weaving of jute fabric is carried out on looms which can vary in width from a few inches up to a few yards wide.  The speed of a loom can vary.  On this loom the shuttle make 130 picks per minute - (the number of times the shuttle moves back and forth across the loom).  This is a sacking loom which can produce cloth up to 46 inches wide.  Sacking was the staple product of the Dundee jute industry.

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