Textile and Its Role in Early Industrial Revolution
In this paper I will make an overview of the textile manufacture during early Industrial revolution, as well as outline its importance in it.
The timeline of the Industrial revolution traces back to the times when Great Britain was establishing its colonies overseas, which was at the en of the seventeenth century and at the beginning of the eighteenth century. There were special prerequisites for the development of the textile manufacture at that time, which included the fact that British Empire had the large raw material basis, as well as the big market to sell manufactured goods. The goods transportation problem also existed along with bad communication infrastructure.
Textile manufacture was very popular in British Empire in the eighteenth century, especially textile that was made of wool, which were taken from the sheep-farming areas from Midlands and other regions. There were many weavers who used handlooms and spinning wheels working at their houses, and this activity was very popular as many people were employed with it. The export at that period of time of textile goods was very extensive, and at the end of the seventeenth century counted about one fourth of the total export volume. Before the Industrial revolution the process of making clothes included carding, spinning and weaving. This is what Daniel Defoe in “A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain” wrote upon this issue: “Among the manufacturers’ houses are likewise scattered an infinite number of cottages or small dwellings, in which dwell the workmen which are employed, the women and children of whom, are always busy carding, spinning, etc. so that no hands being unemployed all can gain their bread, even from the youngest to the ancient; anyone above four years old works”.
Industrial revolution was tightly connected with the inventions that were made in the domain of the textile manufacture, and it was Britain, which had all social resources and needs for successful inventions, that launched the wave of inventions and started rapid technological changes. And only after Britain all technological advancements were spreading around the world.
The textile industry includes such industries, as woolen, linen, cotton and silk. Center of the woolen industry was Yorkshire. When the Spinning Jenny was invented the domestic system of manufacture was transformed to factory one and many merchants became their owners. Power-loom weaving was introduced at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and steam power became even more important that water. The silk industry was introduced in England by France, and the speeds of its development were rather slow due to lack of raw materials and harsh competition from the side of Italy, China and France. At the very beginning of the eighteenth century Thomas Lombe received the patent for “new invention of three sorts of engines never before made or used in Great Britain, one to wind the finest raw silk, another to spin, and the other to twist”. However, the Italians claimed that he stolen the invention from them, as they were using it since seventeenth century. But still soon after the patent was obtained, the silk mill was opened in Derby, which employed about 300 workers. Cotton industry was mainly centered around three districts: North West England (Manchester), Midlands (Nottingham), and Clyde Valley in Scotland (between Paisley and Lanark). The volume of cotton goods export (in monetary value) increased about 230 time from 1701 to 1800.
By the eighteenth century, Ireland became the largest producer of flax in the world (linen industry). In the late 1790s Matthew Murray and John Marshall made the effective lax-spinning machine for the production of the yarn of higher quality. This is what Marshall wrote on regard of the flax: “My attention was accidentally turned to spinning of flax by machinery, it being a thing much wished for by the linen manufacturers. The immense profits which had been made by cotton spinning had attracted general attention to mechanical improvements and it might be hoped that flax spinning, if practicable, would be equally advantageous. It would be a new business, where there would be few competitors, and was much wanted for the linen manufacture of this country.” Linen was also introduced as the warp thread to the fustian cloth production. It was extensively used for sacking, furnishing and sails.
The flying shuttle was invented in 1733 by John Kay from Lancashire, which was aimed to increase cotton cloth width and production speed of the one worker at the loom, which was the method of shuttle throwing, which made the weaver to produce nearly twice as much cloth as he produced earlier. The old method was, to cast the shuttle with the hand that demanded the continuous hands extension to each side of the warp. According to the new plan, the lathe was lengthened a foot at the end; and, by means of two strings connected to the different ends of the lathe, and both carried by a peg in the weaver’s hand, weaver was capable of providing of the right impulse to the shuttle.( Baines, 1966). The technology was not spreading very quickly, as the worker were afraid to lose their jobs, even though as the process speed increased, the demand for spun cotton also increased. Five years after, the Roller Spinning machine along with the flyer-and-bobbin system was patented by Lewis Paul and John Wyatt, which were later used in the first cotton spinning mill. Lewis Paul also invented the carding machine, which was improved by Richard Arkwright and Samuel Crompton. Samuel Crompton also invented the spinning mule (the combination of the water frame and Spinning Jenny), which produced equally strong and soft yarn that could be used for all kinds of the textiles. “In this machine, the roving passes from the back part through rollers to the spindles, which are placed in front on a moveable frame. As the spindles revolve, this frame recedes from the rollers, somewhat faster than they give out the roving. The first pair of rollers draw the roving from the bobbin, the second pair draw it out and lengthen it, as in the Water Frame, and the pull of the spindles as the frame recedes, stretches it still finer. When a certain quantity of roving is giving out, the rollers stop and shut fast the roving, as the clove does in the Jenny, the spindles still continuing to revolve and the frame to recede, drawing out the roving to the fineness required and giving it the necessary twist, the yarn is then wound upon the spindles by returning the frame to the first position” (Guest, 1968).
Among outstanding inventions of textile industry are also willowing machine, cylinder printing, rotary steam engine, dash wheels and power loom. I would like to describe the cylinder printing in more details, as printing on clothes began in the middle of the eighteenth century. Engraved copper rollers for printing were extensively used, which were invented by Joseph Bell. The engraved printing cylinder was placed horizontally along with the other cylinder that was above it. The cylinder that was lower took the printing color from the trough with its bottom; the excess of the paint was scrapped of with the steel blade, which was fitting closely the cylinder. The cloth went through the cylinders and then through drying boxes. If it was necessary to obtain the complex color pattern, several printing cylinders were employed.
So, textile manufacture played an outstanding role in the process of the early Industrial revolutions as it promoted the upgrade of the domestic technologies on the factory level, as well as furthered the development of subsequent technologies in the related industries.
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