Cotton mill

Cotton mill

Overview
A cotton mill is a factory
Factory
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

 that houses spinning
Spinning (textiles)
Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

 and weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

ry. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

Cotton mills, and the mechanisation of the spinning process, were instrumental in the growth of the machine tool
Machine tool
A machine tool is a machine, typically powered other than by human muscle , used to make manufactured parts in various ways that include cutting or certain other kinds of deformation...

 industry, enabling the construction of larger cotton mills. The requirement for water helped stimulate the construction of the canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 system, and the need for power the development of steam engines
Stationary steam engine
Stationary steam engines are fixed steam engines used for pumping or driving mills and factories, and for power generation. They are distinct from locomotive engines used on railways, traction engines for heavy steam haulage on roads, steam cars , agricultural engines used for ploughing or...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Cotton mill'
Start a new discussion about 'Cotton mill'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A cotton mill is a factory
Factory
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

 that houses spinning
Spinning (textiles)
Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

 and weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

ry. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

Cotton mills, and the mechanisation of the spinning process, were instrumental in the growth of the machine tool
Machine tool
A machine tool is a machine, typically powered other than by human muscle , used to make manufactured parts in various ways that include cutting or certain other kinds of deformation...

 industry, enabling the construction of larger cotton mills. The requirement for water helped stimulate the construction of the canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 system, and the need for power the development of steam engines
Stationary steam engine
Stationary steam engines are fixed steam engines used for pumping or driving mills and factories, and for power generation. They are distinct from locomotive engines used on railways, traction engines for heavy steam haulage on roads, steam cars , agricultural engines used for ploughing or...

. Limited companies
Joint stock company
A joint-stock company is a type of corporation or partnership involving two or more individuals that own shares of stock in the company...

 were developed to construct the mills. This led to the trading floors of the cotton exchange of Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, which in its turn created a vast commercial city. The mills also created extra employment, leading to the expansion of local populations and the need for extra housing. In response, mill town
Mill town
A mill town, also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories .- United Kingdom:...

s with municipal governments were created. The mills provided independent incomes for girls and women. Child labour was used in the mills, and the factory system
Factory system
The factory system was a method of manufacturing first adopted in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s and later spread abroad. Fundamentally, each worker created a separate part of the total assembly of a product, thus increasing the efficiency of factories. Workers,...

 led to organised labour. Poor conditions in cotton mills became the subject of expose
Expose
Expose, exposé, or exposed may refer to:-Technology:* Exposé , a window management tool for Mac OS X** Exposé clone, computer software which mimics the Mac OS X feature-Music:...

s and the Factory Acts
Factory Acts
The Factory Acts were a series of Acts passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to limit the number of hours worked by women and children first in the textile industry, then later in all industries....

 were written to regulate them. The cotton mill was originally a Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

 phenomenon that then was copied in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 and later in the southern states of America. In the 20th century, North West England
North West England
North West England, informally known as The North West, is one of the nine official regions of England.North West England had a 2006 estimated population of 6,853,201 the third most populated region after London and the South East...

 lost its supremacy to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, then India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and then China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. In the 21st century redundant mills have been accepted as part of a country's industrial heritage
Industrial heritage
Industrial heritage is an aspect of cultural heritage dealing specifically with the buildings and artifacts of industry which are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations, often forming a significant attraction for tourism.The...

 .

History


The English cotton mill, which emerged as an entity in 1771, went through many changes before the last one was constructed in 1929. It had a worldwide influence on the design of mills, and changed over time. The architectural development of the cotton mill was linked to the development of the machinery which it contained, the power unit that drove it, and the financial instruments used for its construction. In Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

 England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 the industry was horizontally integrated, with carding
Carding
Carding is a mechanical process that breaks up locks and unorganised clumps of fibre and then aligns the individual fibres so that they are more or less parallel with each other. The word is derived from the Latin carduus meaning teasel, as dried vegetable teasels were first used to comb the raw wool...

 and spinning
Spinning (textiles)
Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

 only in south east Lancashire, while weaving was more evenly spread but more concentrated to the north and west of the county. In the USA in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, the process was mostly vertically integrated and led to combined mills where carding, spinning and weaving took place in the same mill. Mills were also used for finishing
Finishing (textiles)
In textile manufacturing, finishing refers to any process performed on yarn or fabric after weaving or knitting to improve the look, performance, or "hand" of the finished textile or clothing...

 such as bleaching and printing
Printing
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

.

Water (1770–1800)



The early mills were narrow and low in height, of light construction, powered water wheel
Water wheel
A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of free-flowing or falling water into useful forms of power. A water wheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface...

s and containing small machines. Interior lighting was by daylight, and ceiling height was only 6–8 ft. Masson Mill
Masson Mill
Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mill is a water-powered cotton spinning mill situated on the west bank of the River Derwent in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire in England. This mill was built in 1783 and is sited close to the house Richard Arkwright built for himself within the parish of Matlock...

 in Derbyshire is a good example of an early mill. Mills were made by millwright
Millwright
A millwright is a craftsman or tradesman engaged with the construction and maintenance of machinery.Early millwrights were specialist carpenters who erected machines used in agriculture, food processing and processing lumber and paper...

s, builders and iron founders. These Arkwright
Richard Arkwright
Sir Richard Arkwright , was an Englishman who, although the patents were eventually overturned, is often credited for inventing the spinning frame — later renamed the water frame following the transition to water power. He also patented a carding engine that could convert raw cotton into yarn...

-type mills are about 9 feet (2.7 m) wide. Spinning was done with a spinning mule
Spinning mule
The spinning mule was a machine used to spin cotton and other fibres in the mills of Lancashire and elsewhere from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Mules were worked in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys: the little piecer and the big or side piecer...

, which was not restricted by patent, so many engineers experimented with improvements which they then tested in their own establishments. These men became the successful mill owners.

In the United States, the Beverly Cotton Manufactory
Beverly Cotton Manufactory
The Beverly Cotton Manufactory was the first cotton mill to be built in America, and the largest cotton mill to be built during its era. It was built hoping for economic success, but reached a downturn due to technical limitations of the then early production process and limitations of the machines...

 was designed and pioneered by Thomas Somers, who started innovative construction and testing of the facility in 1787, finishing the factory's equipment in 1788. Research and development learned from this factory led Moses Brown of Providence to request the assistance of a person skilled in water spinning. Samuel Slater
Samuel Slater
Samuel Slater was an early English-American industrialist known as the "Father of the American Industrial Revolution", or the "Father of the American Factory System" because he brought British textile technology to America. He learned textile machinery as an apprentice to a pioneer in the British...

, an immigrant and trained textile worker from England, accepted Brown's proposal, and assisted the design of the construction of Slater Mill, built in 1790 on the Blackstone River
Blackstone River
The Blackstone River is a river in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It flows approximately 48 mi and drains a watershed of approximately 540 sq. mi...

 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Pawtucket is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 71,148 at the 2010 census. It is the fourth largest city in the state.-History:...

. Slater managed to evade restrictions on emigration which were put in place to allow England to maintain its monopoly on cotton mills. Slater Mill resembled both the Beverly Cotton Manufactory, and a mill in Derbyshire that he had worked in.

Atmospheric engines (1800–1815)



Water powered mills were common. The first steam mills used the engine to drive a pump to raise water in order to run a water wheel
Water wheel
A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of free-flowing or falling water into useful forms of power. A water wheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface...

. Though water continued to be used to drive mills in the country, the next development was the small town mills, driven by steam, situated alongside a canal which provided water for its engine. Murrays' Mills
Murrays' Mills
Murrays' Mills is a complex of former cotton mills on land between Jersey Street and the Rochdale Canal in the district of Ancoats, Manchester, England . The mills were built for brothers Adam and George Murray. A & G Murray was consistently one of the largest cotton-spinning firms in Manchester...

  alongside the Rochdale Canal
Rochdale Canal
The Rochdale Canal is a navigable "broad" canal in northern England, part of the connected system of the canals of Great Britain. The "Rochdale" in its name refers to the town of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, through which the canal passes....

, in Ancoats
Ancoats
Ancoats is an inner city area of Manchester, in North West England, next to the Northern Quarter and the northern part of Manchester's commercial centre....

 were powered by 40 hp Boulton and Watt
Boulton and Watt
The firm of Boulton & Watt was initially a partnership between Matthew Boulton and James Watt.-The engine partnership:The partnership was formed in 1775 to exploit Watt's patent for a steam engine with a separate condenser. This made much more efficient use of its fuel than the older Newcomen engine...

 beam engine
Beam engine
A beam engine is a type of steam engine where a pivoted overhead beam is used to apply the force from a vertical piston to a vertical connecting rod. This configuration, with the engine directly driving a pump, was first used by Thomas Newcomen around 1705 to remove water from mines in Cornwall...

s. Some were built as room and power mills which let space to entrepreneurs. These mills, often 'L' or 'U' shaped, were narrow and multi-storeyed. The engine house, warehousing and the office were in the mill, though stair towers were external. Windows were square and smaller than in later mills. The walls were of unadorned rough brick. Construction was to fireproof designs. They are distinguished from warehouses in that warehouses had taking-in doors on each storey with an external hoist beam. Only the larger mills have survived.

Mills of this period were from 25 to 68 m long and 11.5 m to 14 m wide. They could be 8 storeys high and have basements and attics. Floor height went from 3.3 to 2.75 m on the upper storeys.

Boiler
Boiler
A boiler is a closed vessel in which water or other fluid is heated. The heated or vaporized fluid exits the boiler for use in various processes or heating applications.-Materials:...

s were of the wagon type; chimneys were square or rectangular, attached to the mill, and in some cases part of the stair column. The steam engines were typically low-pressure single-cylinder condensing beam engines. The average power in 1835 was 48 hp.
Power was transmitted by a main vertical shaft with bevel gears to the horizontal shafts. The later mills had gas lighting using gas produced on site.
The mules
Spinning mule
The spinning mule was a machine used to spin cotton and other fibres in the mills of Lancashire and elsewhere from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Mules were worked in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys: the little piecer and the big or side piecer...

 with 250-350 spindles were placed transversely to get as much light as possible.

Remodelling and expansion (the rise of the factory) 1815–1855


From 1825 the steam engine was able to power larger machines which were constructed from iron using improved machine tools. Mills from 1825 to 1865 were generally constructed with wooden beamed floors and lath and plaster ceilings. William Fairbairn
William Fairbairn
Sir William Fairbairn, 1st Baronet was a Scottish civil engineer, structural engineer and shipbuilder.-Early career:...

 experimented with cast iron beams and concrete floors. Mills were of red brick or sometimes local stone, but there was a greater attention to decoration, with pilasters, and the main gate was often highlighted with stone decoration. The stair columns were still exterior to the main floors. During this period the mules got wider and the width of the bays increased. Specialised mill architects appeared. In rural areas the mill and its associated village were often built together, but in the city the mill was built separately.


Mills of this period were still tall, narrow, and wide. They were commonly built with one or two wings to form an 'L' or 'U' shape. Brunswick Mill was a twenty eight bay mill, 6 storeys of 16 m by 92 m. Each self-acting spinning mule
Spinning mule
The spinning mule was a machine used to spin cotton and other fibres in the mills of Lancashire and elsewhere from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Mules were worked in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys: the little piecer and the big or side piecer...

 had 500 spindles. Single storey north light weaving sheds were sometimes added to these mills. The looms often caused vibrations that would damage the structure of multi-storey buildings,
so specialised weaving mills became common. There would be a single storey weaving shed with the steam engine and offices, and preparation and warehousing in a two storey ancillary building.

This was a period when there were major advances in steam engine technology. The Lancashire boiler was patented in 1844, and the Economiser in 1845. This can been seen as a square brick structure between the boiler house and the chimney. The engine would be a double compound upright beam engine of the type patented by Mc Naught in 1845. Each room would have a line shafts suitable for the type of frame, connected by belt drives or gearing.

In 1860, there were 2650 cotton mills in the Lancashire region, employing 440 000 people. They were paid in total ₤11,500,000 per annum. 90% were adults and 56% female. The mills used 300 000 HP of power, of which 18 500 was generated by waterpower. The mills had 30 387 467 spindle
Spinning mule
The spinning mule was a machine used to spin cotton and other fibres in the mills of Lancashire and elsewhere from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Mules were worked in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys: the little piecer and the big or side piecer...

s and 350 000 power loom
Power loom
A power loom is a mechanized loom powered by a line shaft. The first power loom was designed in 1784 by Edmund Cartwright and first built in 1785. It was refined over the next 47 years until a design by Kenworthy and Bullough, made the operation completely automatic. This was known as the...

s. The industry imported 1 390 938 752 lb of raw cotton a year. It exported 2 776 218 427 yards of cotton cloth and 197343655 lbs of twist and yarn. The total value of its exports was ₤32,012,380.
Cotton Mills in 1860
LancashireCheshireDerbyshire
Mills 1920 200 25
Workers 310000 38000 12000


Of the 1 390 938 752 lb of raw cotton 1 115 890 608 lb came from America.
Source of Raw Cotton
CountryImports
America 1 115 890 608
East Indies 204 141 168
West Indies 1 630 784
Brazil 17 286 864
Other 52 569 328


1860 saw the end of this period of rapid growth. The Cotton Famine of 1861–1865 was a period when American long staple cotton became unavailable due to an American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. After the war, the economics of the industry had changed, and a new larger mill was required.

New England


In 1814 the Boston Manufacturing Company
Boston Manufacturing Company
The Boston Manufacturing Company was organized in 1813 by Francis Cabot Lowell, a wealthy Boston merchant, in partnership a group of investors known as The Boston Associates, for the manufacture of cotton textiles. Boston Manufacturing Company gathered many of their trade secrets from the earlier...

 of New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 established a "fully integrated" mill on the Charles River
Charles River
The Charles River is an long river that flows in an overall northeasterly direction in eastern Massachusetts, USA. From its source in Hopkinton, the river travels through 22 cities and towns until reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Boston...

 at Waltham, Massachusetts
Waltham, Massachusetts
Waltham is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, was an early center for the labor movement, and major contributor to the American Industrial Revolution. The original home of the Boston Manufacturing Company, the city was a prototype for 19th century industrial city planning,...

. Despite the ban on exporting technology from the UK, one of its proprietors, Francis Cabot Lowell, had travelled to Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 to study the mill system, and he memorised some of its details. In the same year, Paul Moody built the first successful power loom in the US. Moody used a system of overhead pulleys and leather belting, rather than bevel gearing, to power his machines. The group devised the Waltham System of working, which was duplicated at Lowell, Massachusetts
History of Lowell, Massachusetts
The History of Lowell is closely tied to its location along the Pawtucket Falls of the Merrimack River, from being an important fishing ground for the Pennacook tribe to providing water power for the factories that formed the basis of the city's economy for a century...

 and several other new cities throughout the state. Mill girls, some as young as ten, were paid less than men, but received a fixed wage for their 73 hour week. They lived in company-owned boarding houses, and attended churches supported by the companies.

In the 1840s George Henry Corliss
George Henry Corliss
George Henry Corliss was an American mechanical engineer and inventor, who developed the Corliss steam engine, which was a great improvement over any other stationary steam engine of its time. The Corliss engine is widely considered one of the more notable engineering achievements of the 19th...

 of Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

 improved the reliability of Stationary steam engine
Stationary steam engine
Stationary steam engines are fixed steam engines used for pumping or driving mills and factories, and for power generation. They are distinct from locomotive engines used on railways, traction engines for heavy steam haulage on roads, steam cars , agricultural engines used for ploughing or...

s. He replaced slide valves with valves which used cams. These Corliss valves
Corliss Steam Engine
A Corliss steam engine is a steam engine, fitted with rotary valves and with variable valve timing patented in 1849, invented by and named after the American engineer George Henry Corliss in Providence, Rhode Island....

 were more efficient, and more reliable than their predecessors. Initially, steam engines pumped water into a nearby reservoir which powered the water wheel, but were later used as the mill's primary power source. The Corliss valve was adopted in the UK, where in 1868 more than 60 mill engines were fitted with them.

Later generations 1855–1898 (the Golden Age)



Just before 1870, a mill was built by a joint-stock spinning company and this financial structure led to a new wave of mill construction. The phrase Oldham Limiteds
Oldham Limiteds
Oldham Limiteds were the 154 cotton manufacturing companies founded to build or operate cotton mills in Oldham in northwest England, and predominantly during the joint-stock boom of 1873–1875.-History:...

 describes these companies. The family-run firms continued to build, but grouped into associations such as the Fine Spinners' and Doublers' Association
Fine Spinners and Doublers
Fine Spinners and Doublers was a major cotton spinning business based in Manchester, England. At its peak it was a constituent of the FT 30 index of leading companies on the London Stock Exchange.-History:...

. Joseph Stott
Stott
The Stotts were a family of architects from Oldham in North West England who specialised in the design of cotton mills. James Stott was the father, Joseph and his elder brother Abraham Stott had rival practices, and in later years didn't communicate...

 of Oldham perfected a new method of fireproof floor construction using steel beams supporting brick vaults that in turn supported concrete floors that would support heavier equipment. Ring frames replaced mule frames; they were heavier and larger and must be placed transversely, the floors became larger (up to 130 feet (39.6 m) wide) and higher to provide the light. The bay size in a mill was important, as it defined the positioning of machines. In an 1870 mill the bay was 10 in 6 in (3.2 m), and the brick vaults 5 in 3 in (1.6 m). though there were variations.

Engines were run at higher pressures and from 1875, powered the horizontal shafts on each floor by means of ropes. This was a prominent change as a rope race had to be built running the whole height of the mill. The engine needed more space and the engine house, boiler house and economiser were built external to the main mill. Mills continued to get bigger, and were often paired; two mills being driven by one engine. Another prominent change was the trend of having all the carding done on one floor. To achieve this, the ground floor was extended outwards behind the mill often a full mill width. In a single mill, the crosswall was used to divide the blowing room from the rest, as it was here that there was greatest risk of fire.

Mills of this period became very much wider, Houldsworth Mill, Reddish
Houldsworth Mill, Reddish
Houldsworth Mill, also known as Reddish Mill, is a former mill in built in 1865 in Reddish, Stockport, Greater Manchester, England . Designed by Abraham Stott, it was constructed for Henry Houldsworth, a prominent mill owner at the time...

 (1865) was 35 m wide and would accommodate 1200 spindle mules. It was four storeys and had sixteen wider bays on each side of a central engine house; In fact a double mill. The central block provided for office and warehousing. A mill was accompanied by a complete range of ancillary building. Stair columns were featured, often extending above the mill and housing a water tank for the sprinkler system. The floors became higher allowing for taller windows. Accrington brick was used from 1890, decorated with yellow sandstone with moulded brick and terracotta features. Etched and stained glass was used in the offices. Mills were designed by specialist architects and architectural quality became a major consideration.

The power needed and provided to drive these mills was increasing. Beam engine
Beam engine
A beam engine is a type of steam engine where a pivoted overhead beam is used to apply the force from a vertical piston to a vertical connecting rod. This configuration, with the engine directly driving a pump, was first used by Thomas Newcomen around 1705 to remove water from mines in Cornwall...

s were still installed until the 1870s when horizontal engines took over. Abbey Mill Oldham (1876) needed 700 hp, Nile Mill (1896) needed 2500 hp. By the 1890, boilers were producing 160 psi, and the triple expansion horizontals
Stationary steam engine
Stationary steam engines are fixed steam engines used for pumping or driving mills and factories, and for power generation. They are distinct from locomotive engines used on railways, traction engines for heavy steam haulage on roads, steam cars , agricultural engines used for ploughing or...

 became standard. Chimneys were octagonal.

American context


Following the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 mills grew larger. They started to be built in the southern states of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, and Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, where cheap labour and plentiful water power made operations profitable. Cotton could be processed into fabric where it grew, saving transportation costs. These were usually combination mills, (spinning and weaving) that were water powered and used a slow burn design technique. They used a belt and pulley drive system, and the heavier ring frames rather than mules. At this point they only spun and wove coarse counts. The mills were mainly in open country and mill town
Mill town
A mill town, also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories .- United Kingdom:...

s were formed to support them.New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 mills found it increasingly difficult to compete, and as in Lancashire, went into gradual decline until finally bankrupted
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. Cotton mills and their owners dominated the economy and politics of the Piedmont
Piedmont (United States)
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division...

 well into the 20th century.

Edwardian mills (Indian Summer) 1898–1914



Production peaked in 1912. The war of 1914–1918 put the Lancashire industry into reverse. The British government, starved of raw cotton established mills in south Asia exporting the spinning technology- which was copied, and became a low labour cost competitor. In Germany, Flanders and Brazil mills were built to the designs of the Oldham architects
Stott
The Stotts were a family of architects from Oldham in North West England who specialised in the design of cotton mills. James Stott was the father, Joseph and his elder brother Abraham Stott had rival practices, and in later years didn't communicate...

. The only new mills were very large to benefit from the economies of scale. Older mills were re-equipped with rings, and machines were powered by individual electric motors.

Mills of this period were large, their decoration was lavish reflecting Edwardian taste and prosperity. Most mills were built for mules. Kent Mill Chadderton (1908) was a five storey, 11 bay mill, 84.6m x 43.9m. It had 90,000 spindles. Ring frames were smaller and heavier than mules so the mills were narrower with fewer storeys. Pear Mill Bredbury (1912) was planned to be a 210,000 spindle double mill. Only the first mill was completed, it had 137,000 spindles. They had more stair columns than earlier mills, it had dust flues often built into the rope race. There were two or three windows per bay. Decoration was often in terracotta and the mill name displayed in white brick on the stir tower or chimney. Stott and Sons employed Byzantine styling in Broadstone Mill, Reddish.
Specialist architects built new mills and then created extensions. The last steam powered mill, Elk Mill, was built by Arthur Turner

Mules were built with 1300 spindles, but were gradually replaced by rings

The increasingly powerful engines required more boilers with economisers and superheaters. Mills needed reservoirs to supply the boilers and condense the steam. The chimneys were round and taller. Three types of engines were used: triple expansion horizontal cross compound engines, Inverted marine type compounds which were more compact, and Manhattans with vertical and horizontal cylinders such as the 3500 hp engine at New Pear Mill. Rope drives were used exclusively. Electricity was gradually introduced firstly on group drives driving a shaft (Little Mill, 1908), and then later on individual machines.

Economic cycles


The cotton industry was subject to cycles of boom and slump, which caused waves of mill building. There was a optimism that dictated that slumps had to be endured and then there would be a period of even greater prosperity.The limited companies took control of spinning, while the room and power system was the norm for the weaving sheds. One point of view in the 1880s was that vertically integrating the weaving sheds into new mills would reduce costs and lead to greater profits. This route had been followed in New England where it was successful, but not in Lancashire. The industry peaked in 1907. There was a severe slump between 1908 and 1911 which endured until 1918 when the years 1919 and 1920 were more profitable than the peak of 1907.

American context


Mill constructed in South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, increased in size. For example, at Rutledge Ford, on the Saluda River
Saluda River
The Saluda River is a principal tributary of the Congaree River, about 200 mi long, in northern and western South Carolina in the United States...

, the river was dammed and a power plant constructed. This was completed in 1904, as a prelude to the construction of a state-of-the-art textile mill in 1906. That power plant originally provided for 4,800 horse power. The mill contained 30,000 spindles. By 1916 a new mill was constructed, containing 70,200 spindles and 1,300 looms. The town was named Ware Shoals
Ware Shoals, South Carolina
Ware Shoals is a town in Abbeville, Greenwood, and Laurens counties in the U.S. state of South Carolina, along the Saluda River. The population was 2,363 at the 2000 census....

.
Between 1904 and 1916, the population of Ware Shoals had grown from 2 men employed to maintain the newly constructed power plant, to 2,000. By the 1960s the mill was employing 5,000 people. It closed in 1985.

Consolidation (boom and bust) 1918–1950




Though business revived in 1919, a shortage of building materials restricted the building of new mills, and activity was financial with the mills seeking recapitalisation. There is no clear concession on the reason for the final decline. Some say that the cotton men concentrated on making easy money ignoring the possibility of foreign competition best countered by larger mills by re-equipping the mills with more modern ring frames. Daniels and Jewkes argued the fundamental cause of the depression was a change in demand for cotton goods. J. M. Keynes suggested that there was over capacity, and the industry should be reorganised into larger units that would scrap the excess capacity.

The Lancashire Cotton Corporation was a company set up by the Bank of England in 1929, to rescue the Lancashire spinning industry by means of consolidation. In merged 105 companies, ending up in 1950 with 53 operating mills. These were the later larger mills. It was bought up by Courtaulds in August 1964.

The later mills were on the fringe of the spinning area in Wigan and Stockport, Availability of labour was cited as a reason.The last mills were completed in 1926, these were Holden Mill. Elk Mill.

In 1929, for the first time there were more spindles in the USA than in The UK. In 1972, India had greater spindleage than the USA, and it was in turn surpassed by China in 1977.

End of spinning 1950–1960


Though there was a slight revival after 1945, mills closed. The most efficient mills had abandoned their steam engines, and were working the frames with individual electric motors. Broadstone Mills Stockport
Broadstone Mill, Reddish
Broadstone Mill was a double cotton spinning mill on the northern bank of the Stockport Branch Canal in Reddish, Stockport, Greater Manchester, in England. The mills were started in 1903 and completed in 1907. They closed in 1957, and the southern mill was demolished and engine houses were...

, was built as a double mill with 265,000 mule spindles, but by 1959 it was running 37,500 mule spindles and 70,000 ring spindles. It closed in 1959 taking advantage of the Cotton Industry Act 1959
Cotton Industry Act 1959
The United Kingdom Cotton Industry Act 1959 aimed to reorganise the Lancashire cotton industry to prevent further decline. It provided for grants to replace equipment...

 and was then used by the John Myers mail order company. One mill was later demolished leaving the other to be used as a Shopping Outlet Centre and Craft Village.
The reduction of capacity led to a legacy of redundant mills, which were readily reused for other industrial purposes.

Final days 1960–2000


Ring spinning technology had successfully replaced the spinning mule, with mills having been converted mules to rings. However in the 1970s, the depleted industry was challenged by a new technology open-end or break spinning. In 1978 Carrington Viyella opened a factory to do open-end spinning in Atherton
Atherton, Greater Manchester
Atherton is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, in Greater Manchester, England, historically a part of Lancashire. It is east of Wigan, north-northeast of Leigh, and northwest of Manchester...

. This was the first new textile production facility in Lancashire since 1929. Immediately Pear Mill, Stockport and Alder Mill, Leigh were closed. These were both Edwardian mills designed by Stott and Sons.
The mill built in 1978 was built on the Howe Bridge mills site and was named Unit One.It was not an open end mill but a combed cotton ring mill.

Cotton mill design


The following had to be considered:
  1. The cotton count (the coarseness of the yarn)
  2. The type of machinery chosen
  3. The site
  4. The water supply
  5. Transport
  6. Building materials available
  7. Fireproofing and sprinklers
  8. Prime motor
  9. Class of gearing

Cotton mill and water


The earliest cotton mills were driven by water, so needed to be situated on fast flowing streams. The labour force, in the main had carding, spinning and weaving skills acquired by working with wool. The earliest mills were adjacent to streams flowing off the open west facing moors where the rainfall was the highest. As capacity grew, navigable waterways were needed to bring in the raw materials and take away the finished yarn or cloth. Rivers were canalised and a network of canals was dug to penetrate further into the hills to service the mills.

From about 1820, the stationary steam engine
Stationary steam engine
Stationary steam engines are fixed steam engines used for pumping or driving mills and factories, and for power generation. They are distinct from locomotive engines used on railways, traction engines for heavy steam haulage on roads, steam cars , agricultural engines used for ploughing or...

 became the normal form of power for a cotton mill, water was still needed to produce the steam and to condense it, to maintain the humidity, for many of the finishing processes and for firefighting. The water was extracted from rivers and canals, then later mills requiring ever more water, built and maintained their own reservoirs. Mills were built away from the hills, and clustered around watercourses, developing into mill town
Mill town
A mill town, also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories .- United Kingdom:...

s. Mills were also used for wet finishing processes such as bleaching
Textile bleaching
Textile bleaching is one of the stages in the manufacture of textiles. All raw textile materials, when they are in natural form, are known as 'greige' material. This greige material will be with its natural color, odour and impurities that are not suitable for clothing materials...

, dyeing
Dyeing
Dyeing is the process of adding color to textile products like fibers, yarns, and fabrics. Dyeing is normally done in a special solution containing dyes and particular chemical material. After dyeing, dye molecules have uncut Chemical bond with fiber molecules. The temperature and time controlling...

 and printing
Textile printing
Textile printing is the process of applying colour to fabric in definite patterns or designs. In properly printed fabrics the colour is bonded with the fiber, so as to resist washing and friction...

- these were very water intensive.

Construction


Mills were very prone to fires. The original floor structure was one of wooden beams, supporting a double layer wooden floor, the underside being protected with lath and plaster. When a fire started the laths provided kindling, the void enabled the fire to spread rapidly, and the flooring provided the fuel. The British endeavoured to build a fireproof mill, and the Americans experimented with slow burn techniques, essentially using more massive timbers.

In a fireproof mill the wooden frame was encased in brick or the wooden floor beams replaced with cast iron. An early fireproof mill is Strutt's North Mill, Belper
Belper North Mill
Belper North Mill, also known as Strutt's North Mill, Belper, is one of the Derwent Valley Mills designated UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2001.It is sited in Belper, a town in Derbyshire, England roughly half way between Derby and Matlock....

. Between the cast iron beams one, two, or three layer brick vaults were constructed. These were smoothed off at the top with an infill of rubble to form the floor. Like everything in the cotton industry, each innovation was covered by patents and each architectural practice had its own unique system. As the floor increased in weight, the supporting walls must become stronger. The cast iron beams were supported at each end by the walls, but need more support mid-span, and this was provided by cast iron columns.
An alternative was to use iron beams, and span between them using cast concrete, then the next technological advance was the use of rolled steel beams that had greater strength and flexibility and were usable for longer spans.

The floor must support its own weight and the weight of the machines placed on it. In time the size and weight of the machines increased but not necessarily the weight per unit area. When a mill was upgraded from spinning mules to ring frames, the floor had to be strengthened.

The early mills in Europe and America were driven by water, and needed a location adjacent to a flowing stream. Streams were normally in narrow valleys where land was scarce, consequently mills (For example Masson Mill
Masson Mill
Sir Richard Arkwright's Masson Mill is a water-powered cotton spinning mill situated on the west bank of the River Derwent in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire in England. This mill was built in 1783 and is sited close to the house Richard Arkwright built for himself within the parish of Matlock...

) were built with many storeys and a small footprint. Later, when mills were powered by steam, proximity to coal and transport routes became important. In America where land was relatively plentiful, single storey mills became common, while in Lancashire land was still scarce within the towns, and the multi-storey mill remained the norm. (For example Murray Mills, Ancoats.) Weaving sheds were built away from the large towns and were usually single storey.

Power




In the 18th century mills were powered by the use of a Water wheel
Water wheel
A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of free-flowing or falling water into useful forms of power. A water wheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface...

, but the need for a constant source of water meant that mills were generally built only alongside rivers and streams. To supply a constant speed, mill machinery required a reliable source of power. Traditionally, speed was governed by using a heavy fly wheel with a governor
Centrifugal governor
A centrifugal governor is a specific type of governor that controls the speed of an engine by regulating the amount of fuel admitted, so as to maintain a near constant speed whatever the load or fuel supply conditions...

.


In 1712 Thomas Newcomen
Thomas Newcomen
Thomas Newcomen was an ironmonger by trade and a Baptist lay preacher by calling. He was born in Dartmouth, Devon, England, near a part of the country noted for its tin mines. Flooding was a major problem, limiting the depth at which the mineral could be mined...

 built an atmospheric engine while trying to pump water from Cornish
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 tin mines. The engine worked by filling with steam a cylinder which contained a piston, then spraying in cold water so that the steam condensed, creating a partial vacuum. Atmospheric pressure pushed the piston down, providing power, which could be used to operate machinery. Such engines were used for pumping out mines, or pumping water back to above a waterwheel. In 1781 James Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

 of Birmingham
Science and invention in Birmingham
Birmingham is one of England's principal industrial centres and has a history of industrial and scientific innovation. It was once known as 'city of a thousand trades' and in 1791, Arthur Young described Birmingham as "the first manufacturing town in the world"...

 marketed his rotary-motion steam engine. The earlier steam engine's vertical movement was ideal for operating water pumps but the new engine could be adapted to drive all sorts of machinery, Richard Arkwright was to later pioneer its use in his cotton mills. Possibly the first engine to be used in a Cotton Mill, was 'of old construction' - evidently a 'common' (or Newcomen) engine - which was used at Shudehill mill
Shudehill Mill
Shudehill Mill or Simpson's Mill was a very early cotton mill, in the centre of Manchester, England. It was built in 1782 by partners of Richard Arkwright, and destroyed by fire in 1854, rebuilt and finally destroyed during the Manchester blitz in 1940. It was one of the larger Arkwright mills,...

 in 1783 to raise water from one artificial storage pond to another so it could drive a water wheel
Water wheel
A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of free-flowing or falling water into useful forms of power. A water wheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface...

 and thus the mill. Other mills followed. Joshua Wrigly made his engines self acting by using the motion of the water wheel to open and close the steam cocks. By 1795 most of common engines around Manchester had been replaced by the Watt
James Watt
James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

's separate condenser models manufactured by Boulton and Watt
Boulton and Watt
The firm of Boulton & Watt was initially a partnership between Matthew Boulton and James Watt.-The engine partnership:The partnership was formed in 1775 to exploit Watt's patent for a steam engine with a separate condenser. This made much more efficient use of its fuel than the older Newcomen engine...

 or Bateman and Sherratt. Shudehill Mill bought a 6h.p. model in 1790. By the mid 1790s there were in excess of 500 Boulton & Watt steam engines in British factories and mines.
In 1843 James Joule had measured and shown that 838 ft lbs of work was needed to raise the temperature of water by 1 degree F, and from this, it was deduced that heat and mechanical energy are mutually convertible. Watt measured the heat entering and leaving an engine and showed the heat loss was equivalent to work the engine was doing.
As knowledge of thermodynamics
Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...

 increased, engines were improved by raising the temperature and operating pressure. At 60 psi (0.41368543758 MPa), exhaust from such a cylinder was still at sufficient temperature to work a second cylinder. This was a compound engine. Ultimately four cylinder, quadruple compounds were produced. Slide valves became impractical and were replaced by drop valves, and later the Corliss valve.

Electricity was introduced into mills in 1877. At first a small steam engine would drive a generator and the electricity was used to provide electric lighting. By the 1890s this was common. Electricity started to be used to drive the mills machinery around 1906. It was generated in the engine house, and one group-drive electric motor was placed on each floor to drive the shafts. They were placed exterior to the mill as it was thought that they were a fire risk. Examples of this type would be the Welkin Ring Mill (Ark Mill) Bredbury
Bredbury
Bredbury is a suburban town within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, in Greater Manchester, England, located south east of Manchester, east of Stockport and south west of Hyde...

, and the Kearsley Mill, Kearsley
Kearsley
Kearsley is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, in Greater Manchester, England. Historically within Lancashire, it lies about 7½ miles northwest of Manchester,5.5 miles south-west of Bury, and about 3¾ miles south of Bolton.It is bounded on the west by Walkden, the east by...

. Mains driven mills (Brunswick Mill) started about 1907, but they were restricted by the lack of mains. They used group drives. Later mills used individual electric motors to power the machines.

Transmission methods



The early mills, used a vertical shaft to take the power from the flywheel. On each floor horizontal shafts engaged with the main shaft using bevel gearing. American mills rejected this approach and used thick leather bands instead of shafts. There was a lot of friction and power wasted. A new approach was to use thick cotton ropes. A rope drum was attached to the flywheel with a channel cut for each rope. The profile was such to give maximum adherence.

Other factors


Cotton is sensitive to both temperature and humidity. To heat the mill a heating system is provided, wrought iron pipes are suspended at a height of 7 feet (2.1 m) and carry steam under pressure, heating to 100 °F (37.8 °C). Rules of thumb suggest that 1 square foot (0.09290304 m²)of heating surface was needed to heat 100 cubic feet (2.8 m³). In summer the system was barely used but in winter the boilers would be fired up two hours before the shift started so the mill would have time to warm up. As heat was applied the humidity dropped, so a system of humidifiers were employed. There were two types of atomisers; which played an air jet against a jet of water in the room and the type that injects a stream/air mixture into the room.

The other service that is required in a mill is a fire fighting system. Many methods were used to drive a sprinkler system throughout the mill, in later mills the roof would be flat and waterproofed to form a shallow tank. Other later mills used the top of each stair tower as a location for enclosed tanks and supplemented the supply with water from the town mains. Water for the sprinklers had to be protected from freezing and evaporation. The water pressure needed to be above 7 psi, and the header tank at least 15 feet (4.6 m) above the highest sprinkler.

The provision of light, water tanks and heating system defined the structure and shape of the mill.

Spinning


A spinning mill took raw cotton bales and opened them and cleaned the cotton in the blowing room. The cotton staples are then carded into lap. This is straightened and drawn into roving. The roving is now spun using one of two technologies: a mule or ring frame. The yarn can be doubled and processed into thread, or prepared for weaving.Minerva Mill, Ashton-under-Lyne
Minerva Mill, Ashton-under-Lyne
Minerva Mill was a cotton spinning mill in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, England. It was built between 1891 and 1892 for the Minerva Spinning Company which was later known as the Ashton Syndicate. Minerva Mill was next to the later Texas mill, at Whitelands. It ceased spinning cotton in...

 was designed by P. S. Stott
Sir Philip Stott, 1st Baronet
Sir Philip Sidney Stott, 1st Baronet , usually known as Sidney Stott until 1920, was an English architect, civil engineer and surveyor....

 and equipped by John Hetherington and Son, it produced 40's twists and 65 wefts. It was typical of a mill of the 1890s.
Number MachinesRatio
2 Vertical Openers and scutchers 1 : 43,434
4 Intermediate Scutchers 1 :21,717
93 Carding Engines 1 :934
63 finishing deliveries of drawing 1 :1,380
792 Slubbing spindles 1 :109.7
1716 Intemediate spindles 1 :50.6
6680 Roving spindles 1 :13
86,868 Mule spindles 1 :1


Self acting mule frame
Spinning mule
The spinning mule was a machine used to spin cotton and other fibres in the mills of Lancashire and elsewhere from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Mules were worked in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys: the little piecer and the big or side piecer...

 (Roberts 1830) was an improvement on Crompton's Mule
Spinning mule
The spinning mule was a machine used to spin cotton and other fibres in the mills of Lancashire and elsewhere from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Mules were worked in pairs by a minder, with the help of two boys: the little piecer and the big or side piecer...

 (1779) which derived from earlier inventions. Mules were used in the 19th century mills for the finest counts, these needed skilled workers to operate them.

Ring frame
Ring spinning
Ring spinning is a method of spinning fibres, such as cotton, flax or wool, to make a yarn. The ring frame developed from the throstle frame, which in its turn was a descendant of Arkwright's water frame. Ring spinning is a continuous process, unlike mule spinning which uses an intermittent action...

 (1929) developed out of the Throstle frame (19th century) an improvement on the Arkwright's Water frame
Water frame
The water frame is the name given to the spinning frame, when water power is used to drive it. Both are credited to Richard Arkwright who patented the technology in 1768. It was based on an invention by Thomas Highs and the patent was later overturned...

. Originally rings were only suitable for coarse counts, they were lower and heavier than mules so needed stronger floors but lower rooms. Over time, rings became suitable for finer counts and because of cheaper labour costs they replaced mules. By 1950 all mills converted to the Ring frame.

Weaving


A weaving mill needed yarn suitable for the warp and the weft. The warp had to delivered on the beam, or was wound on the beam from cheeses by a beamer. To obtain the extra strength needed, the yarn was sized on a sizer. The weft was wound onto the pirn
Pirn
A pirn is a rod onto which weft thread is wound for use in weaving. Unlike a bobbin, it is fixed in place, and the thread is delivered off the end of the pirn rather than from the center. A typical pirn is made of wood or plastic and is slightly tapered for most of its length, flaring out more...

s for the shuttle on a pirner. These preparatory processes completed the yarn was woven on a loom. One weaver would operate 4 or six looms. A self-acting loom would stop when any thread broke, and the thread had to be retied or pieced. The process required greater levels of light than spinning, and weaving sheds would often be single storey, with overhead north facing lights. Placing a loom onto the ground also reduced the problems caused by the vibrations of operation.

The Cartwright's powerloom
Power loom
A power loom is a mechanized loom powered by a line shaft. The first power loom was designed in 1784 by Edmund Cartwright and first built in 1785. It was refined over the next 47 years until a design by Kenworthy and Bullough, made the operation completely automatic. This was known as the...

 (1785) was made reliable by Robert's cast iron power loom
Roberts Loom
The Roberts Loom was a cast iron power loom introduced by Richard Roberts in 1830. It was the first loom that was more viable than a hand loom, it was easily adjustable and reliable thus widely used in Lancashire cotton industry. - Richard Roberts :...

 (1822) and became perfected by the Kenworthy and Bullough Lancashire Loom
Lancashire Loom
The Lancashire Loom was a semi-automatic power loom invented by James Bullough and William Kenworthy in 1842. Although it is self-acting, it has to be stopped to recharge empty shuttles. It was the mainstay of the Lancashire cotton industry for a century....

 (1854). The Northrop or Draper Loom
Northrop Loom
The Northrop Loom was a fully automatic power loom marketed by George Draper and Sons, Hopedale, Massachusetts beginning in 1895. It was named after James Henry Northrop who invented the shuttle-charging mechanism. -The Loom:...

 (1895) replaced these older designs.
Number of Power Looms in Britain 1803–57, and 1926
Year 1803 1820 1829 1833 1857 - 1926
No. of Power Looms in UK 2,400 14,650 55,500 100,000 250,000 767,500

Comparison of output of 24 yard shirtings 1823–1833
Year 1823 1823 1826 1833
|good hand loom weaver power weaver power weaver power weaver
| Aged 25 Aged 15 Aged 15 Aged 15 with 12yr old helper
Looms 1 2 2 4
Pieces woven per week 2 7 12 18

Milltowns


During this time, the success of cotton mills gave birth to mill town
Mill town
A mill town, also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories .- United Kingdom:...

s, which became significant settlements, following the foundation of mills in them. First constructed in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, cotton mills facilitated huge and rapid economic expansion for many parts of Britain, particularly in North West England
North West England
North West England, informally known as The North West, is one of the nine official regions of England.North West England had a 2006 estimated population of 6,853,201 the third most populated region after London and the South East...

, for example Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Oldham
Oldham
Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies amid the Pennines on elevated ground between the rivers Irk and Medlock, south-southeast of Rochdale, and northeast of the city of Manchester...

, Bolton
Bolton
Bolton is a town in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England. Close to the West Pennine Moors, it is north west of the city of Manchester. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, of which Bolton is the...

, Bury
Bury
Bury is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on the River Irwell, east of Bolton, west-southwest of Rochdale, and north-northwest of the city of Manchester...

, Preston, Blackburn, Burnley
Burnley
Burnley is a market town in the Burnley borough of Lancashire, England, with a population of around 73,500. It lies north of Manchester and east of Preston, at the confluence of the River Calder and River Brun....

, Ashton
Ashton-under-Lyne
Ashton-under-Lyne is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, Greater Manchester, England. Historically a part of Lancashire, it lies on the north bank of the River Tame, on undulating land at the foothills of the Pennines...

, Rochdale
Rochdale
Rochdale is a large market town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies amongst the foothills of the Pennines on the River Roch, north-northwest of Oldham, and north-northeast of the city of Manchester. Rochdale is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan...

 and in Stockport
Stockport
Stockport is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on elevated ground southeast of Manchester city centre, at the point where the rivers Goyt and Tame join and create the River Mersey. Stockport is the largest settlement in the metropolitan borough of the same name...

, and other towns and cities.
The model of the milltown was also exported to the United States where it can be found both in New England and the southern states.

Labour conditions


The mills were notable in employing women, giving them an independent income. In Lancashire and Piedmont, South Carolina child labour is well documented.

Child labour


The Lancashire and Derbyshire mills needed a pool of cheap labour. Pauper children
Pauper apprentice
Pauper apprentices in England and Wales were the children of paupers who were bound out by the local parish overseers and churchwardens. Some had to travel long distances to serve in the factories of the industrial revolution, but the majority served their terms within a few miles of their...

 were boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 21, who were dependent on the Poor Law Guardians
Board of Guardians
Boards of guardians were ad hoc authorities that administered Poor Law in the United Kingdom from 1835 to 1930.-England and Wales:The boards were created by the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, replacing the parish Overseers of the Poor established under the old poor law, following the recommendations...

. Mill owners made contracts with the guardians in London and the southern counties to supply them paupers, in batches of 50 or more, to be apprenticed. Living condition were poor in 'Prentice Houses', and the children who were paid 2d a day worked 15 hour shifts, hot bedding with children on the other shift.

Robert Owen
Robert Owen
Robert Owen was a Welsh social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement.Owen's philosophy was based on three intellectual pillars:...

, the millowner, New Lanark
New Lanark
New Lanark is a village on the River Clyde, approximately 1.4 miles from Lanark, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It was founded in 1786 by David Dale, who built cotton mills and housing for the mill workers. Dale built the mills there to take advantage of the water power provided by the river...

 never employed children under the age of ten, and opposed physical punishment in schools and Factories, he lobbied for parliamentary action. This resulted in
The Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802
Factory Acts
The Factory Acts were a series of Acts passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to limit the number of hours worked by women and children first in the textile industry, then later in all industries....

  • Limited hours of work to twelve a day.
  • Boys and girls to sleep in separate dormitories with no more than two to each bed
  • Compulsory education to be provided in the arts of reading writing and arithmetic
  • Each apprentice to be provided with two suits of clothes
  • On Sunday children to be instructed in Christian worship
  • Sanitation to be improved

Regulation was ineffective until the mills were subject to inspection in 1833. This did not reduce the number of children, half-timers worked mornings in the mill and spend the afternoon in the school room. While the number of children working in spinning as tenters did decline, more were employed in weaving because weavers were expected to tenter extra looms.
Percentage of children below 13 in cotton factories 1835–78
Year 1835 1838 1847 1850 1856 1862 1867 1870 1874 1878
amount 13.2 4.7 5.8 4.6 6.5 8.8 10.4 9.6 14.0 12.8

From the Factory Act of 1844, until 1878 records do not distinguish between full time and half-times.
In 1851 a sizeable number of children were working the mills. For Example, In Glossop
Glossop
Glossop is a market town within the Borough of High Peak in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the Glossop Brook, a tributary of the River Etherow, about east of the city of Manchester, west of the city of Sheffield. Glossop is situated near Derbyshire's county borders with Cheshire, Greater...

, there were 931 children (out of 3562) between 5 and thirteen working in cotton mills. In one mill in 1859, 50.2% of the workforce were women, 24.2% were girls, 19% were men and 6.6% were boys.

The Carolinas
Piedmont (United States)
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division...

 mills developed from 1880, and would employ children in preference to adults. At Newton Mill, North Carolina, in 1909, twenty of the 150 workers observed, appeared to be twelve years old or less. As well as the usual report of hands and fingers getting severed by the machinery, and insufferable heat- the dust inhaled caused a fatal condition known as brown lung. Laws were rarely enforced, and the presence of small children in the factory was explained away to the inspectors saying they were visiting the mill to bring meals to their parents (meal totters), or helping but not on the payroll (helpers). Wages were good for the workers who could earn 2$ a day in the mill against 0.75$ on a farm. In the segregated south, 'Blacks' were not allowed to work inside a mill; had they been the need for child labour would have been eliminated. Child labour stopped here not only because of new laws but the change in the type of machinery caused by the Great Depression, which required greater height and skill.

Women


In 1926,the Lancashire cotton industry worked 57.3 million spindles and 767,500 looms. It imported 3.3 million bales and exported 80% of its production. This was the peak. 61% of the 575,000 cotton operatives in Lancashire were women, of which 61% were unionised in 167 different unions
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...


Unions


The 18th century woollen industry of small producers in southern England was far different from the Yorkshire based worsted
Worsted
Worsted , is the name of a yarn, the cloth made from this yarn, and a yarn weight category. The name derives from the village of Worstead in the English county of Norfolk...

 industry where the clothier imported and owned the raw material and sold the cloth. He put out work to small weavers, in effect, employing them. Worsted was more capital intensive. The small weavers banded together to form self help guilds. When Lancashire adopted cotton, the same process occurred. But in Lancashire cotton mills, spinning became a male occupation, and the tradition of unions
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 passed into the factory. As spinners were 'assisted' by several 'piecers' there was a pool of trained labour to replace any spinner the owner cared to dismiss. The well paid mule spinners were the 'barefoot aristocrats' of labour and became organised in the 19th century. They paid union dues, and were well placed to finance themselves should a strike be needed. The Yorkshire worsted industry, adopted the ring frame
Ring spinning
Ring spinning is a method of spinning fibres, such as cotton, flax or wool, to make a yarn. The ring frame developed from the throstle frame, which in its turn was a descendant of Arkwright's water frame. Ring spinning is a continuous process, unlike mule spinning which uses an intermittent action...

 which required less skill. Worsted spinning was an occupation for young girls. Unionism did not develop in Yorkshire until 1914. In, 1913 figures show 50% of cotton operatives were unionised while only 10% of wool and worsted workers.

In Lancashire there were:
OccupationUnion members
Weavers 182,000
Cardroom Operatives 55,000
Spinners 23,000
Piecers 25,000

The spinners union, the Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners
Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners
The Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners was formed in 1870. It was a union for male mule spinners in Lancashire, England. There had been previous attempts at forming a union for spinners. There had been the Manchester Spinners Union and the Grand General Union of Operative...

 had a federal structure with strong central leadership where control was in the hands of a small group of paid officials. Their dues were high, so the fighting fund was large and the officials were skilled in defending the complex wage structures.

Health of the workers


A cotton mill was not a healthy place to work. The air in the mill had to be hot and humid to prevent the thread from breaking. 65 F to 80 F and 85% humidity was normal. The air in the mill was thick with cotton dust and this could lead to byssinosis
Byssinosis
Byssinosis, also called "brown lung disease" or "Monday fever", is an occupational lung disease caused by exposure to cotton dust in inadequately ventilated working environments. Byssinosis commonly occurs in workers who are employed in yarn and fabric manufacture industries...

 - a lung disease.

Although protective masks were introduced after the war, few workers wore them as they made them uncomfortable in the stifling conditions. The same applied to ear protectors. The air led to skin infections, eye infections, bronchitus and tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. The noise levels in a weaving shop, where the shuttles in 500 plus looms were being thumped 200 times a minute lead to levels of deafness in all who worked there. The lubrication was carcinogenic and led to cancers of the mouth and cancer of the scrotum
Scrotum
In some male mammals the scrotum is a dual-chambered protuberance of skin and muscle containing the testicles and divided by a septum. It is an extension of the perineum, and is located between the penis and anus. In humans and some other mammals, the base of the scrotum becomes covered with curly...

; known as mule-spinners cancer.

A mill worker could expect to work a thirteen hour day, six days a week with two weeks off for the wakes week
Wakes week
The wakes week is a holiday period in parts of England and Scotland.- History :Wakes were originally religious festivals that commemorated church dedications...

 holidays in summer. Unsurprisingly, a series of Factory Acts were passed to attempt to ameliorate these conditions.

In the early days when the cotton towns were expanding rapidly, living conditions for the workers were poor. Badly planned housing was seriously overcrowded. Open sewers and shared privies led to diseases such as cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

. In 1831, Manchester was hit by a cholera epidemic which claimed hundreds of lives.

Art and literature

  • William Blake
    William Blake
    William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

     Jerusalem - dark satanic mills.
  • Mrs Gaskell : Mary Barton
    Mary Barton
    Mary Barton is the first novel by English author Elizabeth Gaskell, published in 1848. The story is set in the English city of Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s and deals heavily with the difficulties faced by the Victorian lower class.-Plot summary:...

    (1848), North and South (1855)
  • L. S. Lowry
    L. S. Lowry
    Laurence Stephen Lowry was an English artist born in Barrett Street, Stretford, Lancashire. Many of his drawings and paintings depict nearby Salford and surrounding areas, including Pendlebury, where he lived and worked for over 40 years at 117 Station Road , opposite St...

  • Charles Sheeler
    Charles Sheeler
    Charles Rettew Sheeler, Jr. was an American artist. He is recognized as one of the founders of American modernism and one of the master photographers of the 20th century.-Early life and career:...


See also

  • Cotton famine
    Cotton famine
    The Lancashire Cotton Famine, also known as The Cotton Famine or the Cotton Panic , was a depression in the textile industry of North West England, brought about by the interruption of baled cotton imports caused by the American Civil War. The boom years of 1859 and 1860 had produced more woven...

  • Cottonopolis
    Cottonopolis
    Cottonopolis denotes a metropolis of cotton and cotton mills. It was inspired by Manchester, in England, and its status as the international centre of the cotton and textile processing industries during the 19th century...

  • Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World
    Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World
    Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World is a history of the cotton textile industry in the American South, especially the Piedmont region of the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama...

  • Mill town
    Mill town
    A mill town, also known as factory town or mill village, is typically a settlement that developed around one or more mills or factories .- United Kingdom:...

  • Stott, cotton mill architects
    Stott
    The Stotts were a family of architects from Oldham in North West England who specialised in the design of cotton mills. James Stott was the father, Joseph and his elder brother Abraham Stott had rival practices, and in later years didn't communicate...

  • Textile manufacturing
    Textile manufacturing
    Textile manufacturing is a major industry. It is based in the conversion of three types of fibre into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. These are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. Cotton remains the most important natural fibre, so is treated in depth...


External links