US 3117905 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
A. M. SMITH ll DECORATIVE NEEDLED FABRIC Jan. 14, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 13, 1961 INVENTOR [W /s n I BY W @fl/ ATTORNEYS ,Jan. 14, 1964 SMITH 3,117,905
PECORATIVE NEEDLED FABRIC Filed March 13, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 M MW ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,117,995 DECGRATIVE NEEDLED FABRIC Alexander M. Smith II, Ellrin, N.C., assignor to Chatham Manufacturing Company, Elkin, N.C., a corporation of North Carolina Filed Mar. 13, 196i, Ser. No. 5,232 9 Claims. (Cl. 161-64) The present invention relates to an improved method of making a colored or decorative non-woven fabric material and the improved article resulting from the accomplishment of such method. More particularly, the invention contemplates an improved method of making a needled fabric having a decorative color or decorative colored design, the fabric being of the type wherein loosely matted fibers are interlaced and/ or interlooped so that the fibers are oriented into a cohering relationship.
Non-woven fabric structures derive their coherence and strength from interfiber entanglement and accompanying frictional forces. Such non-Woven fabric structures have been produced from wool and wool like fibers by various mechanical working processes involving rufiing, squeezing, rolling under appropriate conditions of humidity and temperature. The advent of synthetic fibers in recent years has resulted in increased use of a needle punching process to produce a non-woven fabric having more positive interfiber entanglement. Such needle punching processes have also been used to produce a non-Woven fabric from natural fibers as well as synthetic fibers or a blend of natural and synthetic fibers.
In my copending applications, Serial No. 29,115, filed May 13, 1960, and Serial No. 31,910, filed May 26, 1960, both entitled Needle Punch Machine and Method, there is disclosed improvement processes and apparatus for pro ducing a needled fabric. The aforesaid applications are incorporated by reference as a part of the present application to the extent of the disclosure of the needle punching process and apparatus for accomplishing the same.
Prior to the present invention, numerous efforts have been made to produce a decoration or design on needled fabrics. In some instances the needled fabric was subjected to a subsequent printing or dyeing operation wherein a design was printed on the surface pile of the fabric structure. Wear on the surface of the fabric structure tended to remove the decoration or design as some of the fibers on the surface of the fabric were lost from such wear.
Another prior method of providing a decoration in a needled fabric utilized pre-dyed fibers of different colors which were arranged by suitable templet prior to the needle punching operation. This method proved not only costly to accomplish, but unsatisfactory from the standpoint of Wear on the surface of the fabric as well as from the limited application of designs or decorations. In other words, to change from one design to another design and from one color scheme to another color scheme required a substantial change in the mode of operation as different templets were required and difierent colored pre-dyed fibers were needed.
Another prior method of providing a decorative needled fabric contemplated use of different colored pre-dyed fibers fed onto a foundation web and rearranged by an oscillating apparatus prior to needling to provide a hit-andrniss or mottling design. Such method did not lend itself to the commercial production of a fabric structure having a known design or pattern necessary for the mass production of fabric for use in the manufacture of clothing, blankets or other similar products. Also, the design ac complished by the heretofore described method was produced by the mottling effect of the different colored surface fibers and consequently wear on the surface impaired the usefulness of the design.
An important object of the present invention is to provide an improved method of making a decorative needled fabric wherein the base color or colored design is so arranged in the structure that it will remain substantially throughout the useful life of the fabric.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and novel decorative needled fabric structure wherein the color or colored design is so formed in the structure that it appears to have substantial depth.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method of making and an article made from such method wherein a uniform solid color or a colored design is provided in a needled fabric, the method being such as to have far reaching possibilities for providing variations in uniform solid base colors or colored designs.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a method for producing a decorative needled fabric, the method providing for the faster production of the finished article with more uniform characteristics with respect to decorative design.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method of making a decorative needled fabric, the decorative design being such as not to be affected by subsequent processing operations after the needling of the fabric.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide an inexpensive method of making decorative needled fabric, the method being such that the decorative design produced has depth.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a decorative needled fabric wherein the loosely matted fibers which are intermingled into inter looping and/ or interlacing relationship may be of substantially the same color, a design of different colors being provided on a foundation web or the like positioned in the interior of the fabric.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a method of producing a solid base color or a colored design non-Woven fabric, the solid base color or colored design being on the foundation web of the fabric and applied thereto prior or after the needling operation whereby the finished fabric structure has a shadowy or frosty effect with an appearance of depth.
Ancillary to the preceding object, it is a further object of the present invention to provide color or colors to the foundation web by dyeing the foundation web before or after the needling operation.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will appear more fully in the following detailed specification, claims and drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a piece of decorative needled fabric made according to the present invention, the fabric being pulled apart at a corner to show the foundation web or scrim;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary plan view of a piece of decorative needled fabric made according to the present invention and illustrating a design appearing through the outer pile of the fabric structure;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged sectional view through a piece of decorative needled fabric illustrating the fabric structure of layers oriented fibers in cohering relationship with each other, some of the fibers extending through the scrim or foundation web from either side;
FIGURE 4 illustrates schematically a modified meansof accomplishing the method of the present invention by printing a design onto a foundation web, the foundation web then being positioned between layers of loosely matted fibers prior to the needling process;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged schematic plan view illustrating a printing roll, printing a design on the foundation web prior to its being interposed between layers of loosely matted fibers.
Referring now to the drawings wherein like characters and reference numerals represent like or similar parts, the decorative needled fabric disclosed in FIGURES 1 to 3 includes an upper layer of loosely matted fibers and a lower layer 12 of loosely matted fibers needled through a foundation web or scrim 14 so that the loosely matted fibers of the layers are interlaced and/or interlooped to provide for orientation of the fibers into a cohering relationship with each other. Such a method and appara tus for producing the needled fabric is disclosed in my aforementioned applications, Serial No. 29,115, filed May 13, 1960, and Serial No. 31,910, filed May 26, 1960. The detailed description of the needling operation will not be given herein as it may be found in the aforementioned applications, but it will sufiice to say the needling operation contemplates needling the layers 11 and 12 with the scrim 14 therebetween in sandwich relationship, the needling occurring from both sides of the sandwich structure so as to produce the completed web of non-woven fabric.
The individual fibers which make up the layers 10 and 12 may be substantially of the same color. However, referring to FIGURE 2 it will be noted that a design is provided in the finished fabric structure. The finished fabric structure, as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, has its surfaces napped as indicated at 13. Such decorative design is accomplished by providing the scrim or foundation web 14 with the decorative design prior to its being interposed between the layers 10 and 12 and prior to the needling operation. It is also within the scope of the present invention, as will be explained in more detail later in the specification, to dye the foundation web after the needling operation. The foundation web or scrim 14 as shown in FIGURE 1 is provided with different color warps 18 and different color wefts 29. The scrim 14 may be of a coarse Leno type weave, the twisted or spun yarn making up the warps and wefts of the scrim being so woven as to produce a design, in this case, a plaid. Scrim 14 may also be made from yarn knitted by the Raschel or other warp knitting method.
On the other hand, the scrim 14 may be made from different colored strands of unspun roving or twisted yarn being so arranged to provide a decorative pattern.
While the threads which make up the scrim 14 may be pre-dyed different colors prior to making of the scrim, it is also possible to accomplish the present invention by utilizing a scrim made from threads or rovings having a uniform color, the scrim then being subjected to a printing operation wherein a suitable design of various colors is printed thereon.
By utilizing the scrim 14 with a suitable decorative design provided thereon prior to its use in the formation of the needled fabric, it has been found that when the layers of fibers 10 and 12 are provided with the scrim 14 sandwiched therebetween and the needling process is accomplished, the design on the scrim shows through the outer pile of fibers of the layers 10 and 12. Such design has an appearance of depth since it is, in fact, within the body of the needled fabric. Since the decorative design is on the scrim rather than on the fibers of the layers 16 and 12 which are needled together, subsequent treatment of the fabric after the needling process such as napping or the like does not affect the design as the design is not disturbed by picking the surface fibers of the layers.
The fibers which make up the layers 10 and 12 may be white or pastel colors when dark colored yarn or rovings are used for providing the appropriate decorative design on the scrim or a darker colored fiber may be used in the layers when the colored design of the scrim is light. In either instance, the contrast in colors gives a shadowy effect and depth to the decorative design of the finished article. On the other hand, the scrim or foundation web may be a solid base color darker than the color of the fibers of layers 10 and 12, such as an arrangement providing a finished decorative fabric having an unusual solid color appearance with depth to the fabric being ac centuated by the blending of the uniform solid color of outer layers with the contrasting uniform solid base color of the foundation web.
Referring now to FIGURE 4, a schematic representation of utilizing the method of the present invention to provide the novel decorative need-led fabric is illustrated. A roll or foundation webbing or scrim 22 is shown at the left of FIGURE 4 feeding therefrom to a printing roll 24 and a pressure backmp roll 26. The printing roll 24 is provided with suitable indicia or design and receives colored inks or dye from a supply roll 27 and an ink or dye reservoir 30. Any suitable design may be provided on the roll 24 and if superimposed designs are to be utilized, more than one such roll 24 may be provided. After the design is printed on the scrim 23 feeding from the supply roll 22, the scrim is sandwiched between two layers 32 and 34 of loosely matted substantially uniformly colored fibers. The sandwich structure passes between guide plates 36 and 33 to a suitable needling mechanism 40 which is adapted to needle the fibers in the layers 32 and 34- to orient the fibers into cohering relationship with each other. The finished web 42 is shown at the right hand portion of FIGURE 4.
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged schematic plan view of the process shown in FIGURE 4. In FIGURE 5, it will be noted that the printing roll 24 is provided with a suitable design 25 thereon which is imprinted onto the scrim 23 as indicated at 27. After the scrim 23 has been sandwiched between the layers of fibers 32 and 34, it will be noted that the decorative design 27 is visible through the fibers.
It is well-known in the treatment of both natural fibers and synthetic fibers that different fibers have affinity for different dyestuffs. For example, wool typically has an affinity for acid dyestuffs whereas cotton by contrast typically has an alfinity for direct dyestuffs. Likewise, the different synthetic fibers have afiinity for one type of dyestutf more than another type of dyestuif. By utilizing the known dye affinities of the fibers which make up the yarns and rovings of the foundation web or scrim 14, the method and article of the present inven tion may be accomplished by a dyeing operation either prior to or subsequent to the needling operation.
If it is desired to produce a non-woven fabric having a solid color with the unusual characteristics heretofore described, the scrim or foundation web 14 is made from rovings or yarns having fibers that have similar or, same dye afiinities. The fibers of the layers 10 and 12 would in this case have less or no affinity for the dyestuffs which are used to dye the foundation web. On the other hand, the fibers of the layers 10 and 12 would have an affinity for dyestuffs while the fibers of the foundation web have little or no afiinity. After a needling operation, as heretofore described, for orienting the loosely matted fibers into cohering relationship with each other and with the foundation web, the resulting needled fabric could then be dyed in one or two or more dyeing operations so that the darker or base colors would dye the foundation web and the lighter or pastel colors would a dye the outer layers It and '12. The resulting nonwoven fabric structure would be one wherein the base colors of the foundation web blending with the lighter colors of the layers It and 12 would give a shadowy, frosted appearance and accentuate the depth or thickness of the fabric.
By utilizing yarns or rovings having different dye affinities to make up the scrim or foundation web, the yarns or rovings being so arranged in the construction to provide a desired pattern, the uncolored foundation web could be fed between webs of loosely matted fibers, the webs being subjected to the needle operation as heretofore described to produce the non-Woven fabric. By subsequently subjecting the non-woven fabric to various dyes which would have afinity for the various fibers of the foundation Web, the colored design could be accomplished in the foundation Web even after needling.
While the objects and advantages of the method and structure produced by the method of the present invention have been fully and effectively accomplished, it Will be understood that the improved method and fabric structure is subject to some changes and modifications Without departing from the principles and the scope of the invention involved. Therefore, the terminology used in the specification is for the purpose of description and not limitation, the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.
1. A decorative napped needled fabric comprising: a foundation web having a decorative pattern thereon and outer layers of fibers, the fibers of one layer being oriented into cohe ring relationship With each other and with fibers of the other layer and with said foundation Web, said foundation web being positioned substantially midway between outer surfaces of said layers, at least one of said fiber layers having substantially a uniform color which constrasts with said decorative pattern of said foundation Web.
2. The decorative napped needled fabric of claim 1 wherein said foundation Web is a scrim of loosely Woven yarns having contrasting colors with each other and defining the decorative pattern.
3. The decorative napped needled fabric of claim 1 wherein said foundation Web is a scrim having a printed design thereon defining the decorative pattern.
4. The decorative napped needied fabric of claim 1 wherein said foundation Web is a scrim comprising a plurality of strands of unspun roving, said strands of uns-pun roving having different colors and being arranged to define the decorative pattern.
5. The decorative napped needled fabric of claim 1 Where the other of said fiber layers has a substantially uniform color differing from the color of said one layer, and contrasts With said decorative pattern.
6. The decorative napped needled fabric of claim 1 wherein said foundation web is composed of at least two different kinds of fibers each having a different dye affinity, said two different kinds of fibers being anranged into said decorative pattern.
7. The decorative napped needled fabric of claim 1 wherein said foundation Web is composed of at least two different kinds of fibers having difierent dye affinities from each other, said two different kinds of fibers being arranged in said decorative pattern and wherein at least one of said outer layers of fibers is composed of fibers having a dye afiinity for a color contrasting the colors of the two different fibers of said foundation Web.
8. A decorative napped needled fabric comprising a foundation web having a dye afiinity for a solid dark color, and outer layers of fibers, the fibers of one layer being oriented into cohering relationship with each other and with fibers of the other layer and with said foundation Web, said foundation web being positioned substantiaily midway between outer surfaces of said layers, at least one of said fiber layers having a dye affinity for a contrasting color to the coior of said foundation Web.
9. A decorative trapped needled fabric comprising: a scrim having a decorative pattern thereon, and outer layers of fibers oriented into cohering relationship with each other and with said scrim, and forming a pile on both sides of said scrim, said decorative pattern of said 0 scrim being visible through the pile of said outer layers.
References Qited in the tile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS