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Textile industry - Referat


Woollen cloth had England’s main industry since the Middle Ages. The work, spinning and weaving, was done by women at home. Their husbands helped them after having done farmwork. The raw wool was bought by rich clothiers who employed the spinners and weavers and who sold all the cloth that was made. In the mid- eighteens century lots of inventions brought massive changes. John Kay invented the “flying shuttle” which made weaving much faster. James Hargreaves invention was giving the spinner the power to work sixteen spindles at once. It was called the “Spinning Jenny”. Later weavers wanted to made cloth that was part cotton and part linen but the yarn was not strong enough for pure cotton cloth. Then an invention driven by a waterwheel from Richard Arkwright spun strong cotton yarn. The invention was called “Waterframe”. Arkwright and a friend started a water-driven cotton-mill near Derby in 1771. Fine and smooth yarn was spun by the “mule” from Samuel Crompton. British cotton cloth was the best in the world, and also the cheapest, because the spinning was done on machines in mills. The power in the mills was water at first. In the 1790s the first cotton mills with machines that driven by steam were opened. Many of the mills had waterwheels as steam engines. But by 1840 nearly all were driven by steam. After 1800, Britain was making as much cotton cloth as wool. By 1830 cotton was miles on the top. Cotton was popular because it was fine, light in weight, easy to wash and very cheap. Until 1820 cotton exports went mainly to Europe and the USA and later it went to India and the Far East. India became the biggest market of export. The port of Liverpool thrived importing raw cotton from the USA and exporting finished clothes. Until the 1830s most of weaving was done by handloom weavers working at home or in their workshops. After 1830, powerlooms and weaving mills began to take over. The woollen industry changed machines and mills. Until 1830, most of spinning and weaving was still done by hand. By 1850
spinning was done mainly in the west Yorkshire mills. Mill owners said that they had to keep their prices down. That is the cause why workers had to work so long and for low wages, especially women and children. Children at the age of 6 had to work 14 hours per day in the mills. Some were killed or injured by cleaning the machines but their families needed the three shillings that they could earn. Some employers paid their workers a fair wage and some built for them good houses and schools and some took part in a movement for factory reform. But the most mill-owners were against the reform like Richard Oastler. They said that shorter hours would put up their prices and bring them to ruin. After 1833 a law came which banned all children under nine years fro cotton mills. After 1847 ten hours day per day was the limit for boys and all female workers.

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