There is a large class of silk fabrics which are not figured in the loom, but are woven plain and have the design printed upon them, after weaving, as a part of the dyeing process. How figures may be woven into the fabric as it goes through the loom is explained in connection with the description of the Jacquard loom.
The fabrics which receive figures after leaving the looms are passed through a printing machine, especially designed for the purpose. We are here shown a printing machine with the printed cloth leaving the machine. The design is engraved or etched on copper cylinders or rollers, and as many as nine different colors may be used on one piece of cloth, there being a different roller for each color. In passing through the rollers the cloth comes out printed with as many colors and figures as may be desired, according to the number of rollers used. The color on the individual rollers is thickened with gum and is supplied by rolls running against the cylinders with an adjustment that causes the surplus to be scraped off by a knife blade, called a "doctor." The color not scraped off in this manner is left in the engraved or depressed surfaces and thus is taken up by the cloth being rolled through the printing machine.
After it is printed the cloth is steamed so as to set the colors and then it is washed in order to remove the gum used to thicken the colors for printing.