Wool picking machine designed to separate locks of wool before it is carded and spun. The picker opens the wool’s locks which makes it easier to send the fleece through a carding machine. It does this by teasing the fibres (which can also be done by hand just by pulling the lock structure apart), but a picker does this in bulk and much quicker than what can be done by hand. It is possible to spin fibres directly after the picking stage; however, it is usually more desirable to card and blend them with other fibres.
Typically, at a textile mill, a picking machine can separate enough lengths of fibre for a full day’s work after just a single hour. It will also help to remove any vegetation matter or other any unwanted elements that may be present in the wool.
The quality of the casting on this machine suggest that it was made locally, either in Australia or New Zealand. Mike Leggett, the donor of the machine, acquired it from New Zealand where the seller said it had been used by his father to pick wool to make hand stuffed horse saddles. Mike attempted to used it a couple of times to pick alpaca hair, but the speed of the attached motor caused damage to the fibres. The motor is thought to be an added attachment, sometime around the 1960s judging by its age, while the machine itself is thought to be dated around the 1920s.
The machine works by inserting wool through the rollers. Initially there was a conveyor belt feeder system which was powered by the handle on the side. This conveyor belt has been removed however, most likely due to age and deterioration. Wool is now fed through the initial teeth and is met by a spiked rotating drum which works to separate the fibres. The separated fibres would then complete a loop of the drum before being dispatched somewhere below, around where the motor presently sits, at a rapid rate of speed. Typically this wool will be collected in a closet or large catchment area, as can be seen from the 8:47 minute marker in the linked video (link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMjx-t3tH3A). It is not apparent how the wool is collected with this machine.
Red and green machine with four green legs currently attached to a wooden pallet with wheels for easy movement. The green legs lead up to a red central circular barrel from which many attachments are present. Also present on the wooden pallet is a small black motor which is attached by a rubber belt to the central drum inside the red barrel. The belt spins the wooden drum via a dark red circular plate attached to the side of the drum. On the other side of the red barrel, a green handle extends for turning the picker’s conveyor belt feeder system.
Two green walls extend forward from the central red barrel, guarding either side of where the conveyor belt would have been. At the start of these walls is a wooden cylinder, which the conveyor belt would have wrapped around, followed by two interlocking gears which rotate and accept the fed wool. The red roof extends over the central cylinder from here, securing the wool inside and protecting hands from the heavily spiked internal wooden cylinder which rotates and separates (picks) the wool. Extending over the top of this red roof is a green handle which reaches to the back of the machine (not pictured). Here it accepts a weight to ensure pressure is always present for the initial feeder interlocked gear teeth.
There are two large gear cogs on the rubber belt side of the machine and 3 small gear cogs on the handle side of the machine, all coloured green. A green handle is also present at the rear of the machine, below the location from which the weight is hanging. A power cable extends from the motor and there are two adjustable metal rods on the top of the machine, the purpose of these rods is presently unknown.
Inscriptions & markings
Black texter. On top of drum. Wording: HG3707
Wording. Imprint: BRACEWIND BLYN
On motor. Wording AEI