carding, process by which fibers are opened, cleaned, and straightened in preparation for spinning. The fingers were first used, then a tool of wood or bone shaped like a hand, then two flat pieces of wood (cards) covered with skin set with thorns or teeth. Primitive cards, rubber-covered and toothed with bent wires, are still employed by Navajo women. Modern carding dates from the use of revolving cylinders patented in 1748 by Lewis Paul. A mechanical apron feed was devised in 1772, and Richard Arkwright added a funnel that contracted the carded fiber into a continuous sliver. See combing.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.