Dye Houses from Diderot's Encyclopedie

In 1745, Diderot published his exhaustive Encyclopedie, covering every known trade & science practiced in 18th century france. Below are two images from this encyclopedia that depict dye houses, both very instructive. The first shows a yarn-dyeing house. Skeins are hung on racks in the walls, and soaked in a large tub (perhaps a mordating bath, perhaps a wetting bath) on long rods. The large furnace vats to the right are covered with lids. Vat covers were particularly essential for indigo vats, which could be damaged from the introdution of two much oxygen.

A dyer stirs multiple skeins in one of the vats with a long stick. A long-handled sieve for retrieving skeins rests beside him. Outside we can see long rinsing trays, most likely next to a river.

In the second image, fabric dyers reel lengths of fabric over large reels in both square and round tubs. Skeins are also dyed in this house, and can be seen hanging from dollies and racks on the walls. The tubs to the right have ledges overhanging them, upon with the skeins can be placed before dyeing and while waiting to be wrung. Buckets, barrels and long-handled sieves are also found in this dyehouse, as is a large tub of running water to the front left, used to fill the vats and rinsing tubs. Barrels of dyestuffs are shown to the rear.

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