This piece of leather embedded with a mesh of densely packed iron wires was originally attached to a wooden board or 'card' for teasing wool fibres prior to spinning. Contemporary accounts suggest that these objects were also used 'illegally' on woven cloth to raise the nap or surface. This process, known as 'rowing' or 'barbing', was usually achieved with the aid of a special brush made from teasels. The bracts (barbs) on the teasel produce a soft even finish, and no mechanical substitute has been devised which gives as good an effect. Modern snooker-table surfaces, guardsmen's tunics and the roof linings of Rolls-Royces are all finished with teasels.
Accession number: 2005.152
Place of collection: Brooks Wharf, Thames foreshore, City of London
Material: leather; iron
Measurements: L 190 mm; W 130 mm
Gallery location: Case 17.9
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