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A Plate representing the common Method of Beetling, Scutching and Hackling the Flax

A Plate representing the common Method of Beetling, Scutching and Hackling the Flax

Artist: Hincks, W.

Medium: Aquatint

Date: 1783

Shelfmark: Ktop LII

Item number: 46.d

Genre: Topographical Print

View of linen industry workers in 18th century, Ireland. This is the forth plate in a series of twelve views of the manufacturing process produced by W. Hincks. The young female worker on the left of this print is beating the dried flax with a beetle or large wooden mallet, to loosen the brittle outer parts of the stem. Then the flax was held in place and struck with a long wooden blade to separate the fibres from the unwanted woody parts of the stems; two female workers are carrying out this procedure which known as scrunching. This process produced fine fibres known as ‘stricks’, which then had to combed by a hackler; this is the male worker to the left of the print. The flax was now fine and dense, ready for spinning into yarn.

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