Carpet shearing machine, 1832.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This hand-operated machine was designed to shear the uneven pile produced on hand-tufted carpets. The carpet is slowly drawn into the machine by a rotating roller covered with card cloth, and the shearing action takes place between a fixed blade and the helical blades set in a rapidly rotating roller. The cropping of cloth and shearing of carpet was originally done with hand shears. The first rotary shearing machine was invented in about 1790 by Samuel Dorr of Albany, New York, Unites States, and patented in England in about 1794. It was seeing such a rotary shearing machine that led Edwin Budding to invent the lawn mower in 1830.