Manufacturers of all kinds of Elastic Fabrics; Sole Makers of Swann's Patent; Alfred Street Mills, Ashforth Street, NOTTINGHAM.

OF the various textile industries that have found a home in Nottingham, few have been more successfully developed than the manufacture of elastic fabrics, which, as carried out by Messrs. John Swann and Sons, had introduced several valuable specialities in this almost indispensable and useful material.

The business was founded some eight years ago by Mr. John Swann, the senior partner, who prior to embarking on his own account had had practically a life-long experience in the elastic web trade, and possessed of inventive faculties of no mean order, has been responsible for the introduction of many novelties of the highest utility, to which fuller reference will be made at a later stage of our notice.

Elastic Web Factory.
Elastic Web Factory.

The works are contained in a large factory known as the Alfred Street Mills, Ashforth Street, the portion occupied by the firm for manufacturing purposes comprising a floor 100 feet in length by 40 feet in width; the office and warehouse being almost immediately without. The manufacturing department is furnished with a complete modern plant including a long range of large weaving looms, extending almost the entire length of the premises, winding and warping machines and other appliances of improved construction for the manufacture of elastic fabrics. The firm's productions cover the entire range of elastic webbings in demand both in the home and export markets. They are woven in various widths in cotton, satin, silk, and other textiles, plain and coloured, and comprise webs for ladies' waist belts, cricket, footfall and cyclists' belts, springs for boots and shoes, braces, etc., etc., while webbing for surgical bandaging forms a very special item of manufacture, and constitutes a considerable portion of the output. Another speciality, the invention of Mr. John Swann, is the "Reversible Skirt Expander," Patent No. 5466. In this material, by the introduction of several very narrow strips of steel running longitudinally the length of the fabric— a kind of elastic force is obtained causing the skirt to stand out, even should it get wet, and is consequently a great improvement on the usual stiffening introduced into ladies' dresses, which is so liable to acquire limpness under these conditions. The "Expander" is made in different widths and various colours, and since its introduction by Messrs. Swann, the sole manufacturers, has met with universal approval from the leading specialists in costume and dress-making, and is in ever increasing demand. Another speciality invented and patented by Mr. Swann was placed on the market some years ago, and has been held in favourable estimation since, is the Elastic Boot Upper, delightfully easy and well-fitting in wear and giving a highly attractive finish to the goods. Whilst making our tour of inspection through the factory, our attention was directed to a very beautiful piece of elastic webbing of great length, faced with pure white silk, in progress of completion on one of the looms, and this we were informed by our guide was being manufactured to the order of a member of the Royal Family, not, we were given to understand, the first occasion the firm have been honoured with the execution of similar work from this distinguished source. The factory is well-ordered in all its arrangements, and gives regular employment to about fifty workpeople in the various departments, all of which are under the constant personal supervision of the principals; whose thoroughly technical experience is alone a guarantee of efficiency and completeness in the organisation and management of the business. The output of the manufactory is distributed throughout all the principal home and export markets, in which the specialities of Messrs. Swann and Sons command a wide-spread circulation.


Frilling, Mob and Fancy Cap Manufacturer, Alsace Works, Crocus Street, NOTTINGHAM.

THIS business, originally founded forty-three years ago by the present proprietor, has been steadily built up with continuously increasing success, and in 1883, in order to meet the requirements of its expansion, was removed to the commodious site now occupied in Crocus Street. The premises, specially constructed for the purposes of the business, are known as Alsace Works, and comprise a large building of red brick having a frontage of 154 feet, extending to a rearward depth of 45 feet. Entering a spacious hall we are first directed to the offices on the left, including a suite of handsomely furnished apartments for the use of the clerical and managerial staff, and.the principal of the firm. Passing from here we are next introduced to the equally well appointed sale-room, and on the same floor are the stock and pattern-rooms, together with the accordian pleating and spotting-room, each fitted with the requisite appliances employed in these departments. On the first floor are two machine-rooms, and above these are similar apartments fully equipped with a high-class plant for facilitating the various processes of manufacture. The machines in use comprise box pleater, accordian and fancy pleaters, gophering, crimping, fluting, shell braiding, and various others, too numerous for detailed description, the total number laid down in the different departments exceeding one hundred, exclusive of sewing machines of the most suitable makes. The machines in the generality of cases, possess many novel and ingenious features of construction, one especially that attracted our attention having an arrangement by which strips of plain net inserted at one side emerge at the other embellished with the daintiest of designs. Another appliance we noticed was a circular scissor machine, which will do more work in half-an-hour than a girl could accomplish in two days, and is used for cutting the frilling in halves. And here it should be explained, as a most interesting feature of the arrangements, that all the machinery, without exception, is made on the premises, and has been designed by Mr. Squire, himself a thoroughly practical mechanic possessing exceptional inventive talent, who has devoted his attention from the first to the improvement and alterations, which have perfected the various machines for their respective purposes. To facilitate the work of this department Mr. Squire has erected a well-fitted forge and machine room in the basement, where a staff of expert mechanics is employed in fashioning the machines under his personal direction. He also makes his own gas fittings, and has introduced a new radiator for heating, several of which are fixed in various parts of the establishment. In the basement also is the box-making room where all the boxes used in the business are manufactured by improved machinery, nor must mention be omitted of the department in which all goods are boxed, and the pattern-room, where we had an opportunity of inspecting some very beautiful samples of frillings in various qualities and prices. Outside the premises, at the rear, are the boiler-house, stabling, harness-room, forage stores, and every convenience for the conduct of the business of these departments. There is also a large room set apart for the employes meals, and here are provided every comfort and convenience for the hands, of whom about one hundred are employed. The trade is principally transacted with leading Nottingham, London, and Manchester houses.