The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution

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Cotton mills employed almost a third of Glasgow's workforce, although the city was to become most famous in time, for its heavy industries like shipbuilding. The deepening of the River Clyde and the Forth Clyde Canal helped to make the city one of the richest and finest in Europe in Victorian times. But, like many other cities during the Industrial Revolution, the influx of people and new industry created terrible living and working conditions.

Terrible diseases hit the city population.

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There were also serious typhus epidemics in the city in and Manchester was the textile manufacturing centre of the world during the Industrial Revolution. It become known as. In there was 1 mill in the growing city. This was owned by Richard Arkwright. Amazing changes in transport turned Manchester into a major transport interchange and helped to boost the growth of the cotton industry. In years, between and the population of Scotland more than doubled from 2.

This meant that there were more people to feed and there was a greater demand for goods. Not only was the population increasing, but where people lived was also changing. Thousands of people moved from the countryside to the new industrial towns in search of better paid work in the new factories and mills. Some people found they were better off as millworkers than working the land.

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Thousands of new workers were needed to work the machines in the mills, factories and foundries. Some mill owners built houses for them, while many workers were left to find somewhere to live in these new and strange urban places that were very different from country villages. People often found life very difficult in the fast growing towns and cities.

They were dirty, noisy, busy places with terrible, overcrowded and unhealthy houses.

The Cotton Industry and the Industrial Revolution - History Learning Site

Machines never got tired and they could produce ten times the amount that workers could do by hand. They made sure industrial technology did not leave the country either. This policy was upheld for many years. Other countries, especially the United States, did not industrialize because Britain contained its ideas. In the s, American textile companies offered rewards to English mill workers to bring knowledge of textile mills to America. Samuel Slater was one of these Englishmen. Since it was illegal to export textile technology from Britain, Slater memorized the construction plans of a textile factory.

Slater built the machinery for a textile mill from memory. His factory produced cotton of great quality. In the s, Slater and his partners opened many other textile mills. He is considered the founder of the American textile industry because his bringing of English technology to the United States began the Industrial Revolution. When Eli Whitney moved to Georgia in , he saw slaves work relentlessly to separate cotton seeds from cotton fibers by hand. He wanted to invent a machine that would do the same task, but easily. In just a year, he invented the Cotton Gin. His cotton gin had teeth that pulled on the cotton fiber to separate the seeds.

William Fairbairn addressed the problem of line-shafting and was responsible for improving the efficiency of the mill. In , he replaced the wooden turning shafts that drove the machines to wrought iron shafting, which were a third of the weight and absorbed less power. The mill operated until In , using an patent, Richard Roberts manufactured the first loom with a cast-iron frame, the Roberts Loom.

Although it was self-acting, it had to be stopped to recharge empty shuttles. It was the mainstay of the Lancashire cotton industry for a century, when the Northrop Loom invented in with an automatic weft replenishment function gained ascendancy. The Stalybridge mule spinners strike stimulated research into the problem of applying power to the winding stroke of the mule. In , Richard Roberts patented the first self-acting mule. The draw while spinning had been assisted by power, but the push of the wind was done manually by the spinner.

Before , the spinner would operate a partially powered mule with a maximum of spindles. After , self-acting mules with up to 1, spindles could be built. The savings with this technology were considerable.

By the s, the same quantity could be spun in hours by mule, and with a self-acting mule it could be spun by one worker in just hours. While profiting from expertise arriving from overseas, Britain was very protective of home-grown technology. In particular, engineers with skills in constructing the textile mills and machinery were not permitted to emigrate — particularly to the fledgling America.

In , he took his skills in designing and constructing factories to New England and was soon engaged in reproducing the textile mills that helped America with its own industrial revolution.

The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution

Local inventions followed. In , Eli Whitney invented and patented the cotton gin, which sped up the processing of raw cotton by over 50 times. With a cotton gin a man could remove seed from as much upland cotton in one day as would have previously taken a woman working two months to process at one pound per day. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, most of the workforce was employed in agriculture, either as self-employed farmers as land owners or tenants, or as landless agricultural laborers.

By the time of the Industrial Revolution the putting-out system in which farmers and townspeople produced goods in their homes, often described as cottage industry , was the standard.

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Typical putting-out system goods included spinning and weaving. Merchant capitalists provided the raw materials, typically paid workers by the piece, and were responsible for the sale of the goods. Workers put long hours into low-productivity but labor-intensive tasks. The logistical effort in procuring and distributing raw materials and picking up finished goods were also limitations of the system. Some early spinning and weaving machinery, such as a 40 spindle spinning jenny for about six pounds in , was affordable to cottagers.

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  7. Later machinery such as spinning frames, spinning mules, and power looms were expensive especially if water-powered , giving rise to capitalist ownership of factories. Many workers, who had nothing but their labor to sell, became factory workers in the absence of any other opportunities. By , an integrated brass mill was working at Warmley near Bristol. Housing was provided for workers on site. Josiah Wedgwood in Staffordshire and Matthew Boulton at his Soho Manufactory were other prominent early industrialists, who employed the factory system.

    However, Richard Arkwright is credited as the brains behind the growth of factories and, specifically, the Derwent Valley Mills. After he patented his water frame in , he established Cromford Mill in Derbyshire, England. This early factory was established by the toy manufacturer Matthew Boulton and his business partner John Fothergill. In , they leased a site on Handsworth Heath, containing a cottage and a water-driven metal-rolling mill. The mill was replaced by a new factory, designed and built by the Wyatt family of Lichfield, and completed in Between the s and , the nature of work transitioned from a craft production model to a factory-centric model.

    Handloom weavers worked at their own pace, with their own tools, and within their own cottages. Factories set hours of work and the machinery within them shaped the pace of work. Factories brought workers together within one building to work on machinery that they did not own. They also increased the division of labor, narrowing the number and scope of tasks. The work-discipline was forcefully instilled upon the workforce by the factory owners. The early textile factories employed many children. In England and Scotland in , two-thirds of the workers in water-powered cotton mills were children.

    Sir Robert Peel, a mill owner turned reformer, promoted the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act, which was intended to prevent pauper children from working more than 12 hours a day in mills. Children started in the mills at around the age of four, working as mule scavengers under the working machinery until they were eight. They progressed to working as little piecers until they were During this time they worked 14 to 16 hours a day, often physically abused.

    The Industrial Revolution (18-19th Century)

    About half of workers in Manchester and Stockport cotton factories surveyed in and bagan work at under ten years of age. Most of the adult workers in cotton factories in midth-century Britain started as child laborers. The growth of this experienced adult factory workforce helps to account for the shift away from child labor in textile factories.

    In the industrial districts, children tended to enter the workforce at younger ages. Child laborers tended to be orphans, children of widows, or from the poorest families. Cruelty and torture was enacted on children by master-manufacturers to maintain high output or keep them awake. Prior to the development of the factory system, in the traditional marriage of the laboring class, women would marry men of the same social status and marriage outside this norm was unusual.

    Marriage during the Industrial Revolution shifted from this tradition to a more sociable union between wife and husband in the laboring class. Women and men tended to marry someone from the same job, geographical location, or social group. The traditional work sphere was still dictated by the father, who controlled the pace of work for his family. However, factories and mills undermined the old patriarchal authority. Factories put husbands, wives, and children under the same conditions and authority of the manufacturer masters.

    Factory workers typically lived within walking distance to work until the introduction of bicycles and electric street railways in the s. Thus the factory system was partly responsible for the rise of urban living, as large numbers of workers migrated into the towns in search of employment in the factories. Until the late 19th century, it was common to work at least 12 hours a day, six days a week in most factories, but long hours were also common outside factories. The transition to industrialization was not without opposition from the workers, who feared that machines would end the need for highly skilled labor.

    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution
    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution
    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution
    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution
    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution
    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution
    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution
    The Cotton Industry in the Industrial Revolution

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