An Excerpt: "The Cotton Fibre.-The seed hairs of the cotton plant are separated from the
seeds by the process of ginning, and they then pass into commerce as raw cotton.
In this condition the fibre is found to consist of the actual fibrous substance
itself, containing, however, about 8 per cent. of hygroscopic[Pg 3] or natural
moisture, and 5 per cent. of impurities of various kinds, which vary in amount
and in kind in various descriptions of cotton. In the process of manufacture
into cotton cloths, and as the material passes through the operations of
bleaching, dyeing or printing, the impurities are eliminated.
Impurities of the Cotton Fibre.-Dr. E. Schunck made an investigation many years
ago into the character of the impurities, and found them to consist of the
Cotton Wax.-This substance bears a close resemblance to carnauba wax. It is
lighter than water, has a waxy lustre, is somewhat translucent, is easily
powdered, and melts below the boiling point of water. It is insoluble in water,
but dissolves in alcohol and in ether. When boiled with weak caustic soda it
melts but is not dissolved by the alkali; it can, however, be dissolved by
boiling with alcoholic caustic potash. This wax is found fairly uniformly
distributed over the surface of the cotton fibre, and it is due to this fact
that raw cotton is wetted by water only with difficulty."