Willowing was the breaking up of raw cotton and removing impurities. Willowing machines first began to be used at the end of the 18th century. The machine contained a large drum filled with iron spikes, which loosened and separated the fibres, and a powerful fan which blew away the dust and other impurities through a large pipe. The scrutcher was added to the willowing machine in 1797. In his book The History of Cotton Manufacture, Edward Baines claims that the scrutcher was invented by a man working in Glascow called Snodgrass. The scrutcher removed impurities from the willowed cotton by beating it with rapidly revolving metallic blades. James Kennedy, a factory owner in Manchester, first began using the strutcher in 1808.
This painting of a willowing machine appeared
in J. R. Barfoot's The Progress of Cotton (1842)