The first few times we purchased greasy (raw wool as it comes off the sheep), Bollman Industries scoured (cleaned) our wool. As the size of our purchases has grown, we have been able to switch over to scouring by Chargeurs, who has equipment more suited to our type of wool, but requires much larger volumes than we had first purchased.
After we purchase the wool from the Ranchers, it must be cleaned. Raw wool, also known as greasy wool in the trade, contains significant amounts of dirt and vegetable matter and, more importantly, lanolin.
Preparing the wool to be spun into yarn is a critical step in our manufacture and Ladd Hughes, manager of the Bollman Scouring Plant in San Angelo, Texas, scoured the first several batch of our wool. Our wool is very specialized, expensive stuff, and we cannot have contamination from other lots of fiber. So, Ladd scoured our wool first thing on Monday morning, after the line has been thoroughly cleaned over the weekend, and before any other wool is processed. This timing ensures that no contaminating inferior fiber is present on the scouring line when our wool is cleaned. Thanks Ladd and Bollman!
Incidentally, the Bollman Family has a venerable name in American business, going back to the Bollman Hat Company, founded in 1858 and still making hats. The folks running Bollman Hat Company also founded American Made Matters.
Bollman uses forklifts that are specially equipped to handle bales of wool.
The bales typically weigh several hundred pounds each.
The bales are compressed quite tightly for shipping, and Bollman personnel
loosen up the wool prior to processing.
Here is a loosened-up bale headed into the scouring line,
where it will be cleaned of debris and about 98% of the natural lanolin (oil).
In the background is part of the very elaborate scouring line at Bollman.