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 (click to visit company website), 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.
Scouring removes all the undesirable material, which is a very large percentage (by weight) of greasy wool. Lanolin can comprise 10% of the weight, and vegetable matter and other debris as much as 40% of the weight of raw wool.
Chargeurs and Bollman are the only two commercial-sized scourers still operating in the USA. We visited Chargeurs in South Carolina in 2010, not long after we had decided to charge ahead with our ideas to make clothing. Even at the time we realized how remarkable it was that Diego Paullier, manager of the Chargeurs plant, spent hours with us ... touring the installation, explaining and demonstrating how everything worked, and why.
It's taken 10 years, but I hope now that we have grown large enough to work with Chargeurs, Diego's time all those years ago seems worthwhile. Debby and I are surprised he even remembers ... maybe he thought we were crazy?!
[This is really just a quick first draft of this page ... more detail to come ... and hopefully we'll visit again and get some photos.]
15 September 2020 --- Ralph