Noble, James

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. 1850s England
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English inventor of the most generally used wool-combing machine.
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For many years James Noble had been experimenting with combing machines and had taken out patents, but it was not until he was nearly 50 that he invented a really successful one. In 1853 he took out patents for the machine with which his name has become associated. His invention differed from all others in that the combing and clearing away of the noil was done by and through circles revolving in the same direction with practically the same surface speed. It consisted of a large horizontal revolving circle of vertical pins onto which the wool fibres were fed, and inside this were smaller circles of heated pins revolving at the same speed and which also caught the fibres. The combing occurred at the point where the circles separated. Further rollers drew the fibres off the pins of the other circles. The Noble comb became the machine mostly used for wool combing because of its mechanical simplicity, adaptability for varying classes of wool, superior output and economy, for it required little supervision.
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Bibliography
1853, British patent no. 890 (wool-combing machine). 1853, British patent no. 894 (wool-combing machine).
Further Reading
L.J.Mills, 1927, The Textile Educator, London (for a full description of the Noble comb).
W.English, 1969, The Textile Industry, London (provides a good short account of the principles of Noble's machine).
RLH

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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