Making Baseballs, 1890

15 May

In 1890, The New York Commercial Advertiser told their readers about a modern marvel—the mass production of baseballs:



Ball from the 1890s


“Automatic machines for making baseballs have been so successfully contrived that their introduction is likely to constitute a practical industry.  Each machine winds two balls at one time, in the following way:

“A little para-rubber ball, weighing three-quarters of an ounce, around which one turn has been made with the end of a skein of an old-fashioned gray stocking yarn, is slipped into the machine, then another, after which the boy in charge touches a lever, the machine starts and the winding begins.  The rubber ball is thus hidden in a few seconds, and in its place appears a little gray yarn ball that rapidly grows larger and larger.

“When it appears to be about half the size  of the regulation base-ball there is a click, the machine stops, the yarn is cut, the boy picks out the ball and tosses it into the basket.  When this basket is full it is passed along to another boy, who runs a similar machine, where a half-ounce layer of worsted yarn is put on.

“The next machine adds a strong white cotton thread; a coating of rubber cement is next applied and a half ounce layer of the very best fine worsted completes the ball with the exception of the cover.”

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