Modern Metallic Yarns

Balls of metallic yarns. Balls of metallic yarns.

Various methods are used in the twenty-first century to produce metallic yarns. The two most widely applied processes nowadays are laminating and metalizing. The Dobeckmum Company (USA) is said to have produced the first modern metallic yarn in 1946, using the process of laminating.

Laminating was further developed in the 1960's and has become widely used. The laminating process involves a sheet of fine metal that is sandwiched (laminated) between two layers of synthetic film. Initially the film was made of cellulose acetate or cellulose acetate butyrate, later polyester films were used. The film was used to prevent the metal from tarnishing and to make it stronger while being embroidered, knitted and so forth. The resulting sheet is cut into very long, fine strips and wound onto bobbins. The end product can come in a range of colours if, for example, the film is coloured or if a coloured adhesive is used in the lamination process.

Dobeckmun advertisement for their metallic yarn. 1951.

Metalizing involves heating metal, such as aluminium, copper, gold or silver until it vaporizes. The metal particles are deposited under high pressure onto a polyester film, which is then cut into long, fine strips and wound onto bobbins in the same manner as the laminated metallic forms.

A third form is more traditional and based upon twisting a strip of metal around a cotton, linen, rayon or silk core. This type of metal thread is traditionally called passing. Some authors make a difference between metal/metallic threads, which are ‘traditional’ forms of threads made from metal, while metallic yarns are yarns made using industrial processes developed in the twentieth century and later.

See also: lurex

Source: TORTORA, Phyllis G. and Ingrid JOHNSON (2014). The Fairchild Books: Dictionary of Textiles, 8th edition, London: Bloomsbury, p. 383.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 6 June 2016).


Last modified on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 21:08
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