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The Agricultural Revolution Index

Introduction to the Agricultural Revolution

The Industrial Revolution Index

Introduction to the First Industrial Revolution

The Textile Industry Index

John Kay and the Flying Shuttle
James Hargreaves and the Spinning Jenny
Richard Arkwright and the Water Frame
Edmund Cartwright and the Power Loom
Samuel Crompton and the Spinning Mule
Brief History of the Cotton Industry

History Chapters Main Index

 

Chronology of the Textile Industry

1733

Kay patented the Flying Shuttle.

1730

1742

Cotton mills were opened at Birmingham and Northampton.

1743

Lancashire mill owners imported East India yarns to improve the quality of textiles

1740

1753

An angry mob of weavers wrecked Kay's house.

1750

1764

Hargreaves designed the Spinning Jenny.
Arkwright designed the Water Frame.

1768

An angry mob destroyed Arkwright's mill at Chorely

1769

Arkwright patented the Water Frame.

1760

1770

Hargreaves patented the Spinning Jenny.

1771

Arkwright opened his mill at Cromford.

1773

The first all-cotton textiles were produced.

1779

Crompton designed the Spinning Mule.

1770

1783

Arkwright's mill at Masson was opened.

1785

Cartwright patented the power loom.

1787

Cotton goods production was 10 times more than in 1770.

1789

Samuel Slater brought textile machinery design to the US.

1780

1790

Arkwright's steam powered factory was built in Nottingham.

1792

Grimshaw's factory in Manchester was destroyed by an angry mob of weavers and spinners.
Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin.

1790

1804

Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a device using punched card to weave complex designs.

1806

English textile mills were forced to close down as supplies of cotton from the US South ran short.

1800

1813

Horrocks invented the speed batton

1810

 

TWO CENTURIES OF REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE

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The Industrial Revolution

The Textile Industry

Whilst farmers were developing new and better methods of agriculture, life in other areas of work had changed little for hundreds of years. Early in the 18th century, most of the population still lived in small, rural settlements. Few people lived in towns, as we now know them.

Many people worked as producers of woollen cloth. They cleaned, combed, spun, dyed and wove the raw material into cloth. They did this work in their own houses. This type of production has become known by the general term of the Domestic (or Cottage) Industry.

 

Shearing the Rams by Tom Roberts 1890

Shearing the Rams by Tom Roberts 1890

 

Work within the Cottage Industry was usually divided up between the members of one family. The women and girls were responsible for cleaning the sheep fleeces, carding the wool and spinning it. The process of weaving was physically hard work and, traditionally, it was the men who were responsible for it.

Generally, at regular intervals, each hand loom weaver's cottage was visited by a cloth merchant. He would bring the raw material and take away the finished cloth to sell at the cloth hall.

As soon as the new wool arrived, it was washed to clean out all the dirt and natural oil. After this, it was dyed with colour and carded. This was the process of combing the wool between two parallel pads of nails, until all the fibres were lying the same way.

Next, the carded wool was taken by the spinner and, using a spinning wheel, the thread was wound onto a bobbin. This part of the process was often performed by the unmarried daughters of the household who were called spinsters. The term spinster still exists in English to mean an unmarried lady.

 

Woman Spinning

Woman Spinning BY George Walker 1814

 

The spun yarn was then taken to the loom to be woven. In a weaver's cottage, the loom was often to be found on an upper floor. There were large windows in the room to let in plenty of daylight. The loom was worked by both hand and foot movements. Working the loom was quite strenuous work, which is why it was traditionally the work of the men of the household.

 

 

 

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