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Inspired by Nature - The Teasel Gig

Stephen Williams, 4 August 2020

Many industrial processes are inspired by nature, and can be seen as a mechanised extension of a traditional hand process using tools from the natural world. The Teasel Gig is one such invention. Here's a little about this extraordinary machine which is a mixture of the natural and man made.

Teasels were traditionally used to ‘comb’ the surface of damp woollen cloth by hand to

Teasel Gig

make it soft and fluffy. This process is called ‘raising the nap’.

The Teasel Gig machine was invented to make this process faster and more efficient. The teasel gig contains 3000 prickly teasels in an iron frame and is powered by electricity. The cloth is passed over the teasels, giving it a more even, fluffy finish.

The Teasel Gig is a curious mix of the natural and man-made. It combined the hand processes of the past with precision engineering – the future of the textile industry

Teasel Gig with Teasels at The National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre

A ‘Teasel Man’ travelled from mill to mill renewing the teasels in the gigs. It was a very skilled job as the teasel heads had to be carefully arranged to ensure the cloth was finished evenly. Most of the teasels came from specialist gardens in Somerset

Comments (2)

Nia Meleri Evans Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
18 November 2020, 15:29

Dear Valerie Belsey,

Thank you for getting in touch with us. I have passed your enquiry to my colleagues at the National Wool Museum, they will hopefully be able to advise further.

Many thanks,

(Digital Team)

Valerie Belsey
18 September 2020, 18:06
Hello - I am working with Harbertonford Primary School in Devon on a project/play about the mill which worked here from the eighteenth century up until 1963. I am making a living loom and would also like to make a model teasel gig or a teasle paddle which I have seen on line. Perhaps you could send me a bit of a blue print for me to work from. I look forward to your reply. All the best - Valerie Belsey.
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