Bobbin

Bobbin

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Encyclopedia
A bobbin is a spindle or cylinder, with or without flange
Flange
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim , for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel...

s, on which wire
Wire
A wire is a single, usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads and to carry electricity and telecommunications signals. Wire is commonly formed by drawing the metal through a hole in a die or draw plate. Standard sizes are determined by various...

, yarn
Yarn
Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and ropemaking. Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine. Modern manufactured sewing threads may be finished with wax or...

, thread or film
Roll film
Rollfilm or roll film is any type of spool-wound photographic film protected from white light exposure by a paper backing, as opposed to film which is protected from exposure and wound forward in a cartridge. Confusingly, roll film was originally often referred to as "cartridge" film because of its...

 is wound. Bobbins are typically found in sewing machine
Sewing machine
A sewing machine is a textile machine used to stitch fabric, cards and other material together with thread. Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing companies...

s, camera
Camera
A camera is a device that records and stores images. These images may be still photographs or moving images such as videos or movies. The term camera comes from the camera obscura , an early mechanism for projecting images...

s, and within electronic
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 equipment.

In non-electrical applications the bobbin is used for tidy storage without tangles. In electrical
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 applications a coil of wire carrying a current
Electric current
Electric current is a flow of electric charge through a medium.This charge is typically carried by moving electrons in a conductor such as wire...

 has important magnetic
Magnetism
Magnetism is a property of materials that respond at an atomic or subatomic level to an applied magnetic field. Ferromagnetism is the strongest and most familiar type of magnetism. It is responsible for the behavior of permanent magnets, which produce their own persistent magnetic fields, as well...

 properties.

As used in spinning
Spinning (textiles)
Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

, weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

, knitting
Knitting
Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can...

, sewing
Sewing
Sewing is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with a needle and thread. Sewing is one of the oldest of the textile arts, arising in the Paleolithic era...

, or lace
Lace
Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric. Lace-making is an ancient craft. True lace was...

making, the bobbin provides temporary or permanent storage for yarn and may be made of plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

, metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

, bone
Bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

 or wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

.

Bobbin lace
Bobbin lace
Bobbin lace is a lace textile made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread, which are wound on bobbins to manage them. As the work progresses, the weaving is held in place with pins set in a lace pillow, the placement of the pins usually determined by a pattern or pricking pinned on the...

making is a handcraft which requires the winding of yarn onto a temporary storage spindle made of wood, previously bone, often turned on a lathe. Many lace designs use dozens of bobbins at any one time. Exotic woods are extremely popular with contemporary lacemakers. Both traditional and contemporary bobbins may be decorated with designs, inscriptions, or pewter or wire inlays. Often, the bobbins are 'spangled' to provide additional weight to keep the thread in tension. A hole is drilled near the base to enable glass beads and other ornaments to be attached by a loop of wire. Again, in the modern context of the hobby of bobbin lacemaking, these spangles
Sequin
Sequins are disk-shaped beads used for decorative purposes. They are available in a wide variety of colors and geometrical shapes. Sequins are commonly used on clothing, jewelry, bags, shoes and lots of other accessories. Large sequins, fastened only at the top, have been used on billboards and...

 provide a means of self-expression in the decoration of a tool of the craft
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with one's hands and skill. These can be sub-divided into handicrafts or "traditional crafts" and "the rest"...

. Both antique and unique bobbins, sometimes spangled, have become highly sought after by collectors.

In the case of an electrical transformer
Transformer
A transformer is a device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another through inductively coupled conductors—the transformer's coils. A varying current in the first or primary winding creates a varying magnetic flux in the transformer's core and thus a varying magnetic field...

, inductor
Inductor
An inductor is a passive two-terminal electrical component used to store energy in a magnetic field. An inductor's ability to store magnetic energy is measured by its inductance, in units of henries...

 or relay
Relay
A relay is an electrically operated switch. Many relays use an electromagnet to operate a switching mechanism mechanically, but other operating principles are also used. Relays are used where it is necessary to control a circuit by a low-power signal , or where several circuits must be controlled...

, the bobbin is a permanent container for the wire, acting to form the shape of the coil (and ease assembly of the windings into or onto the magnetic core
Magnetic core
A magnetic core is a piece of magnetic material with a high permeability used to confine and guide magnetic fields in electrical, electromechanical and magnetic devices such as electromagnets, transformers, electric motors, inductors and magnetic assemblies. It is made of ferromagnetic metal such...

). The bobbin may be made of thermoplastic
Thermoplastic
Thermoplastic, also known as a thermosoftening plastic, is a polymer that turns to a liquid when heated and freezes to a very glassy state when cooled sufficiently...

 or thermosetting
Thermosetting plastic
A thermosetting plastic, also known as a thermoset, is polymer material that irreversibly cures. The cure may be done through heat , through a chemical reaction , or irradiation such as electron beam processing.Thermoset materials are usually liquid or malleable prior to curing and designed to be...

 (for example, phenolic
Phenols
In organic chemistry, phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group...

) materials. This plastic often has to have a UL
Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is an independent product safety certification organization. Established in 1894, the company has its headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing...

 or other regulatory agency flammability rating for safety reasons.

Other uses/references

  • "Bobbin" can also refer to narrow braid
    Braid
    A braid is a complex structure or pattern formed by intertwining three or more strands of flexible material such as textile fibres, wire, or human hair...

     formerly used as trimming.
  • "Bobbin Threadbare" is the name of the main character in the 1990 computer game Loom.
  • The term "bobbins" appears in northern English slang, meaning "rubbish", i.e. something worthless or incorrect. Taken from the cockney "bobbins of cotton", meaning "rotten". This may be related to the contemporary British slang usage, where "bobbins" can be used to denote something negative, particularly in theatrical circles.
  • Stephen Colbert
    Stephen Colbert
    Stephen Tyrone Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor. He is the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, a satirical news show in which Colbert portrays a caricatured version of conservative political pundits.Colbert originally studied to be an...

     has said multiple times, "Let's change some bobbins" in his 435-part series, "Better Know a District," typically when talking about labor unions.
  • The Proud Family
    The Proud Family
    The Proud Family is an American animated television series that premiered on Disney Channel from September 15, 2001 to August 19, 2005.-Production:...

    has an episode where Penny goes to the spelling bee
    Spelling bee
    A spelling bee is a competition where contestants, usually children, are asked to spell English words. The concept is thought to have originated in the United States....

    , and her last word to spell for the win is "bobbin."
  • The nickname 'Bobbin' is synonymous with a person who is from Wanborough, Wiltshire
    Wanborough, Wiltshire
    Wanborough is a village and civil parish in the borough of Swindon, Wiltshire. The village is about southeast of Swindon town centre. The parish includes the hamlet of Foxhill, southeast of the village.-History:...

    .
  • 'Wind the bobbin up' is a common nursery rhyme
    Nursery rhyme
    The term nursery rhyme is used for "traditional" poems for young children in Britain and many other countries, but usage only dates from the 19th century and in North America the older ‘Mother Goose Rhymes’ is still often used.-Lullabies:...

    .
  • 'Bobbin' is often used in the South East of England to refer to a stool or the process of defecation, i.e. "I'm going for a quick bobbin" or "Stop talking a load of bobbins".

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