The seemingly interminable long line of machines here shown are putting the silk through the process known as warping. Warp is the name given to the threads which run lengthwise in a piece of silk. The warp is made by placing a number of spools on the spindles of a creel or rack and running the threads from them on a reel, called a "Ferris Wheel." As the reel revolves it draws the threads from the spools in such a way as to cause them to lie parallel upon it surface. As many yards are wound off as are required for the length of the warp; this is called a section. Enough sections are put upon the reel to make up the full number of threads in the warp.
As soon as a spool is emptied it is replaced by another and great care is exercised to have the threads continuous and to prevent them from becoming crossed or tangled with each other. A warp runs from 250 to 1000 yards in length. The business of replacing spools and watching so as to rectify possible crossings and tanglings is usually attended to by women. Each machine has its own attendant.
Judging from the size and general appearance of the large reel on which the warp is wound from the spools of thread on the creel, the name "Ferris Wheel" is very appropriate. Another striking fact noticeable in this view is that the motive power for the long row of "Ferris Wheels" in this large plant is transmitted by a solitary revolving shaft, over which belts are run, connecting with the individual "Ferris Wheels."
For pictures and contemporary information on the Spinning Mill or 'Clock Tower Mill' in the
"Cheney Brothers National Historic Landmark District" page, click here.