US 3721274 A
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United States Patent 91 Sherrill et al.
]March 20, 1973 SOFT, DURABLE, LOW SHRINKING TOWEL ' Inventors: Ernest Kohn Sherrill, Eden; John Paul Taylor, Greensboro, both of N.C.
-  Assignee: Fieldcrest Mills, Inc., Eden, N.C.
 Filed: Dec. 30, 1971  Appl. No.: 214,055
 US. Cl. ..139/396, 26/16, 26/69  Int. Cl. ..D03d 27/08, D060 23/00  Field of Search 139/396, 391; 28/72 P, 76 P;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,203,450 6/1940 Wright ..26/69 R 2,932,327 4/ 1960 Frauwirth 139/396 3,187,782 6/1965 Gattoni ....139/396 384,046 6/1888 Leake ..139/396 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,030,147 5/1966 Great Britain 139/396 893,766 4/1962 Great Britain 139/391 Primary Examiner-James Kee Chi Attorney--Donald M. Seltzer  ABSTRACT A woven terry towel whose ground warp and/or filling yarns are composed of a blend of polyester and cellulosic fibers so as to increase the towels resistance to shrinkage, increase the resistance of the selvage and hem areas of the towel to abrasion, increase the overall tensile strength of the towel, and to give the towel enhanced limpness and drape.
10 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures SOFT, DURABLE, LOW SHRINKING TOWEL This invention relates to a novel woven terry towel of the type having a base with pile yarns projecting from both faces of the base.
Most conventional terry towels are woven from cotton yarns, primarily because cotton is inexpensive and highly absorbent. It is well known in the art that allcotton terry towels shrink in the range of about 6-9 percent in the warpwise direction upon initial launderings. This is primarily caused by the inherent nature of cotton as a fiber which swells and shrinks when laundered. Consequently, it is often necessary to weave the towel longer than is desired, so as to compensate, to some extent, for shrinkage of the towel during normal use and laundering. The necessity of this practice creates obvious inefficiencies in production of the towels.
It is also commonly known that, due to the many launderings to which towels are normally subjected, the selvage areas and folded hem areas along the sides and ends of all-cotton towels begin to show wear before the bodies of the towels since such areas are not protected by the terry pile surfaces. Such worn and abraded areas give the towels a prematurely wom-out appearance, and substantially weaken the structural integrity of the towels, making replacement necessary before the bodies of the towels are worn-out.
Another undesirable characteristic found in all-cotton towels is their usual stiffness and boardiness after laundering, especially in the heavier, more expensive towels. Since cotton yarns swell when wet; particularly during bleaching and dyeing, there is increased crowding of the yarns in a towel causing the'entire towel to exhibit an undesirable and persistent stiffness. Such stiffness is especially apparent when the towel is dried while in a motionless state.
It is therefore a primary object of this invention to provide an improved woven terry towel wherein warpwise shrinkage during repeated launderings is reduced to about 2-3 percent, wherein abrasion resistance along the edges of the towel is improved considerably, as well as limpness and drape.
According to the invention, both sets of the ground warp and filling yarns or only one of the same are formed of a blend of cellulosic and polyester staple fibers. The inclusion of the polyester fibers, which are stronger and much less absorbent than cotton fibers, limits the shrinkage of the towel, increases its tensile strength, increases the selvage life, and improves the limpness and drape of the towel. 7
Some of the objects of the invention having been stated, other objects will appear as the description proceeds when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a terry towel embodying the present invention; and
FIG. 2'is an enlarged, fragmentary warpwise sectional view through the towel taken substantially along line 2-2 in FIG. 1.
Referring more specifically to the drawings, FIG. 1
the towel T in FIG. 1 and illustrates the towel construction, wherein sets of ground warp yarns 10 and filling yarns 11 are interwoven to form a woven base fabric, and terry warp yarns 12 and 13 form respective opposing pile surfaces.
The present invention modifies and improves the stability against shrinkage, abrasion resistance, limpness and drape of towels without necessitating substantial changes in the physical construction of the towels themselves. Instead, a novel use of certain synthetic fibers in the base fabric of a conventionally constructed towel achieves the desired results.
More specifically, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, the base fabric comprises ground warp yarns 10, each composed of an intimate blend of cellulosic and polyester staple fibers. Filling yarns 11 are interwoven with the ground warp yarns 10, and preferably, each filling yarn 11 also is composed of an intimate blend of cellulosic and polyester staple fibers. According to the invention, each ground warp yarn 10 should contain within the range of about 35-65 percent polyester staple fibers with the remaining fibers being cellulosic; preferably cotton. Although it is not essential, for best results it is preferred that each ground filling yarn 11 also contains about 35-65 percent polyester staple fibers with the remaining fibers thereof being cellulosic; preferably cotton. Particularly favorable results have been achieved utilizing a 50/50 blend of polyester staple fibers and cotton fibers for the ground warp and filling yarns.
The opposed pile faces of the towel T are formed from respective terry warp yarns l2 and 13 of cellulosic fibers which fibers may be of the same type for both terry warps or of difi'erent types. In accordance with,
the invention, it is preferred that the terry warp yarns 12 are composed of cotton fibers and that the terry warp yarns 13 are composed of rayon staple fibers, for reasons to be later explained.
Polyester has heretofore been considered an undesirable fiber for use in terry towels due to its low moisture absorbency characteristics. (Polyester has a moisture regain of about 0.4-0.8 percent at F. and at 65 percent relative humidity, as compared to 7.0-8.5 percent for cotton). We have found, however, that a terry towel woven from ground yarns of about 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester staple fibers exhibits up to about percent less warpwise shrinkage in repeated launderings than all-cotton towels; i.e., the towel of this invention has relatively low shrinkability in the range of about 2-3 percent. This occurs because the polyester fibers, being much less absorbent than cotton fibers, allow much less swelling and contraction of the ground yarns as the towel is being laundered, thereby imparting substantial warpwise stability to the towel against shrinkage.
In the preferred embodiment, since rayon fibers are more absorbent than cotton fibers (rayon has a moisture regain of 11.5-16.6 percent at 70 F. and at 65 percent relative humidity, as compared with 7,0-8.5 percent for cotton), the terry warp yarns 13 are formed of rayon staple fibers so that the'pile surface formed therefrom will substantially compensate for the absorbency lost by inclusion of the polyester fibers in the base fabric. Also, it is advantageous to form one of the pile surfaces from rayon terry yarns because the rayon terry pile has a high luster or brilliance compared to the cotton terry yarns, and rayon terry loops, when severed or cut as in FIG. 2, have a much greater capacity for attracting and absorbing moisture when in normal use than is the case when cotton terry loops are cut. In fact, when cotton terry loops are cut, the ability of the cott'on terry pile to attract moisture from a persons skin is considerably reduced; i.e., the cotton terry pile surface of the towel simply slides over the moisture while attracting relatively little of the moisture to it. Also, the cut rayon pile provides a soft, velvet-like pile surface which is highly receptive to printing intricate designs of colorant thereon and the brilliance of the cut rayon terry pile surface enhances the brilliance and aesthetic quality of the printed designs.
We have also found that the inclusion of polyester in the base warp and/or filling yarns improves substantially the overall tensile strength of the towel and the resistance of its edges to abrasion. When compared with conventional woven terry towels, it was found that towels of this invention exhibited a warpwise increase in tensile strength of about 50 percent. When all-cotton towels and the towels of the preferred embodiment of this invention were washed together through 100 laundering cycles to test abrasion resistance of the selvages, the all-cotton towels showed a definite disintegration of the selvage areas and across the crease or fold lines in the hems sometimes provided along opposite ends and along one longitudinal edge of each all-cotton towel, with many yarns having been broken and frayed. Also, the selvages and/or hems of the all-cotton towels had an overall fuzzy appearance caused by the breaking of many individual fibers in each yarn and by their projection outwardly from the edges of the towels. The selvages and the edges of the hems of the towels of the preferred embodiment of this invention, after the same 100 launderings, displayed no broken or frayed ends.
While polyester fibers do not have an affinity for the usual vat and napthol dyes used for dyeing cellulosic fibers, we have found that the polyester fibers are stained sufficiently by such dyes so that the color of the selvage is not significantly different from that of the body of the towel when a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend is present in both the ground warp yarns and the filling yarns.
As heretofore stated, the inclusion of polyester fibers in the ground warp and filling yarns of the present invention produces a towel having a more supple, limp hand than an all-cotton towel, by reducing the extent of crowding together of the interwoven ground warp and filling yarns as effected by shrinking. While it is common practice to use plied ground warp yarns in towel construction, we have found that the aforementioned ground warp yarns are so strong as to allow unplied or single yarns to be used. Since the twisting operation thus can be omitted, obvious savings in time and costs result.
While the above is the preferred embodiment of our invention, it is to be understood that the invention as herein described may take alternative forms. Where polyester staple fibers are mentioned herein as a component of the ground warp and filling yarns, it is to be understood that staple fibers other than polyester fibers may be used provided that such other fibers have essentially the same characteristics as and produce essentially the same results as polyester staple fibers. For example, nylon staple fibers may be substituted for the polyester fibers. However, it is preferred that polyester fibers be used because of the tendency of nylon fibers to generate static electricity which causes problems in processing the same. Also, chlorine bleaches used in processing and laundering cause nylon fibers to yellow, which is objectionable.
It is thus seen that we have provided a novel terry towel possessing superior wear and aesthetic characteristics. Such novel towel may take the form of any conventional towel design; for example only and not for purposes of limitation, a towel with fringed areas on opposite ends, sculptured areas or designs thereon, or printed areas or designs thereon.
In the drawings and specification there have been set forth preferred embodiments of the invention and although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.
That which is claimed is:
1. A woven terry towel characterized by having increased tensile strength and stability against shrinkage upon laundering and substantial resistance to abrasion along its edges comprising a base of interwoven sets of ground warp and filling yarns wherein at least one of the sets of ground yarns is formed of a blend of cellulosic and polyester fibers, pile yarns of cellulosic fibers interwoven with said base and forming pile surfaces defining at least the major area of opposing sides of the towel, the pile yarns defining the major area of one of said sides of the towel being formed of rayon staple fibers, said rayon pile yarns providing a high luster appearance to said one side of the towel and increased absorbency to the towel, and the pile yarns defining the major area of the other side of the towel being formed of cotton fibers.
2. A terry towel according to claim 1, wherein said one of the sets of ground yarns is warp yarns, and the percentage of said polyester fibers in said ground warp yarns is in the rang of about 35 to 65 percent.
3. A terry towel according to claim 2, wherein the warpwise shrinkage of the towel when subjected to repeated launderings is no more than about 2 to 3 per cent.
4. A terry towel according to claim 2, wherein said ground filling yarns also are formed of a blend of cellulosic and polyester fibers.
5. A terry towel according to claim 4, wherein the percentage of said polyester fibers in said ground filling yarns is in the range of about 35 to 65 percent.
6. A terry towel according to claim 1 wherein the pile surface of said one side of the towel comprises severed terry loops forming a soft, velvet-like pile surface.
7. A woven terry towel characterized by having increased warpwise and weftwise tensile strength and stability against shrinkage upon laundering and also having substantial resistance to abrasion along its edges, said towel comprising a base of interwoven ground warp and filling yarns each formed of about a 50/50 blend of polyester staple fibers and cotton fibers, opposing pile surfaces on said towel formed from pile yarns of cellulosic fibers, the pile yarns forming one of said pile surfaces being formed of rayon staple fibers, said rayon staple fibers providing a high luster appearance to said one side of the towel and increased absorbency to the towel, and the pile yarns forming the other pile surfacebeing formed of cotton yarns.
8. A terry towel according to claim 7, wherein the 9. A woven terry towel according to claim 8, wherein said ground warp and filling yarns are in the form of single yarns.
10. A terry towel according to claim 7 wherein said warpwise shrinkage of the towel when subjected to re- 5 one P Surface comprises Severed loops forming a peated launderings is no more than about 2 to 3 percent.
soft, velvet-like surface.