History Of Manufacturing
=Spinning.= Spinning and weaving are two of the earliest arts
practised by man. Yarn for the making of cloth was spun in the
earliest times by the use of the distaff and spindle. The spindle was
a round stick of wood a foot or less in length, tapering at each end.
A ring of stone or clay was placed on the spindle to give it
steadiness and momentum when it revolved. At the top of the spindle
was a slit or notch in which
the yarn was caught. The distaff was a
larger, stouter stick, around one end of which the material to be spun
was wound in a loose ball. The spinner fixed the end of the distaff
under her left arm so that the coil of material was in a convenient
position for drawing out to form the yarn. The end of the yarn, after
being prepared, was inserted in the notch, and the spindle was set in
motion by rolling it with the right hand against the leg. Then the
spinner drew from the distaff an additional amount of fiber, which
was formed by the right hand into uniform strands. After the yarn was
twisted, it was released from the notch and wound around the lower
part of the spindle.
In order to spin yarn by the primitive spinner, it was necessary for
the fiber to have sufficient length to enable it to be manipulated,
drawn over, and twisted by the fingers. It is noted that the yarns for
the gossamer-like Dacca muslins of India were so fine that one pound
of cotton was spun into a thread 253 miles long. This was accomplished
with the aid of a bamboo spindle not much bigger than a darning
needle, which was lightly weighted with a pellet of clay. Since such a
slender thread could not support even the weight of so slight a
spindle, the apparatus was rotated upon a piece of hollow shell. It
thus appears that the primitive spinners with distaff and spindle had
nothing to learn in point of fineness from even the most advanced
methods of spinning by machinery.
Certain rude forms of the spinning wheel seem to have been known from
time immemorial. The use of the wheel in Europe cannot, however, be
dated back earlier than the fifteenth century. In the primitive wheel
the spindle, having a groove worked in its whorl, was mounted
horizontally in a framework fixed to the end of a bench. A band
passed around the whorl and was carried around a large wheel fixed
farther back on the bench, and this wheel, being turned by the hand of
the spinner, gave a rapid rotation to the spindle.
The fibers to be spun were first combed out by means of carding
boards--an implement of unknown antiquity, consisting of two boards
with wire teeth set in them at a uniform angle. The fiber to be carded
was thinly spread upon one of the boards, and then the other was
pushed backward and forward across it, the teeth of the two
overlapping at opposite angles, until the fibers were combed out and
laid straight in parallel lines. The fibers were then scraped off the
boards in rollers or "cardings" about twelve inches long and
three-quarters of an inch in diameter. An end of the carding was then
attached to the spindle and the wheel set in motion. The carding
itself was held in the hand of the spinner and gradually drawn out and
twisted by the rotation of the spindle. As soon as a sufficient length
had been attenuated and twisted to the required fineness, the thread
so produced was held at right angles to the spindle and allowed to
wind up on it. But for fine spinning two operations of the wheel were
generally necessary. By the first spinning the fibers were drawn out
and slightly attenuated into what was called a roving, and by the
second spinning the roving itself passed through a similar cycle of
operations to bring it to the required degree of attenuation and
Many improvements in the primitive wheel were introduced from time to
time. In its later developments two spindles were employed, the
spinner being thus enabled to manipulate two threads at once, one in
each hand. This was the latest form of the spinning-wheel, and it
survived until it was superseded in the eighteenth century by the
great series of inventions which inaugurated the industrial revolution
and led in the nineteenth century to the introduction of the factory
=Weaving.= When or where man first began to weave cloth is not known,
nor is it known whether this art sprang from one common center or was
invented by many who dwelt in different parts of the world. There is
such a sameness in the early devices for spinning and weaving that
among some men of science it is thought that the art must have come
from a common center.
Fabrics were made on the farms two or three hundred years ago in the
following manner: the men of the household raised the flocks, while
the women spun the yarn and wove the fabrics. In this way the industry
prospered, giving occupation and income to thousands of the
agricultural class. You might say that in England fabrics were a
by-product of agriculture. As time went on, farmers of certain
sections of England became more expert in the art, and the weaving
became separated from the spinning. The weavers became clustered in
certain towns on account of the higher skill required for the finer
fabrics. The rough work of farming made the hands of the weaver less
skilful. This, coupled with the fact that the looms became more
complicated with improvements, called for a more experienced man.
Great inventions brought about a more rapid development of the
Richard Arkwright, who has been called the "father of the factory
system," built the first cotton mill in the world in Nottingham in
1769. The wheels were turned by horses. In 1771 Arkwright erected at
Crawford a new mill which was turned by water power and supplied with
machinery to accomplish the whole operation of cotton spinning in one
mill, the first machine receiving the cotton as it came from the bale
and the last winding the cotton yarn upon the bobbins. Children were
employed in this mill, as they were found to be more dexterous in
tying the broken ends. As the result of this great invention,
factories sprang up everywhere in England, changing the country scene
into a collection of factories, with tall chimneys, brick buildings,
From 1730 to the middle of the nineteenth century the development of
inventions was rapid:
1730--First cotton yarn spun in England by machinery by
1733--English patent granted John Kay for the invention
of the fly shuttle.
1738--Patent granted Lewis Paul for the spinning
machinery supposed to have been invented by Wyatt.
1742--First mill for spinning cotton built at
Birmingham; moved by asses; but not successful.
1748--Patent on a cylinder card as first used by hand,
granted Lewis Paul.
1750--Fly shuttle in general use in England.
1756--Cotton velvets and quiltings first made in
1760--Stock cards first used for cotton by J. Hargreave.
Drop box invented by Kay.
1762-67--Spinning-jenny invented by Hargreave.
1769--Arkwright obtains his first patent on spinning.
1774--Bill passed in England to prevent the export of
1775--Second patent of Arkwright on carding, drawing,
1779--Mule spinning invented by Crompton. Peele's patent
on carding, roving, and spinning.
1782--Date of Watt's patent for the steam-engine.
1783--Bounty granted in England for the export of
certain cotton goods.
1785--Power loom invented by Cartwright. Cylinder
printing invented by Bell. A warp stop-motion described
in Cartwright's patent.
1788--First cotton factory built in the United States,
1789--Sea Island cotton first planted in the United
States. Samuel Slater starts cotton machinery in New
1790--First cotton factory built in Rhode Island by
1792--First American loom patent granted to Kirk and
1794--Cotton-gin patented by Eli Whitney.
1801--Date given for invention of the Jacquard machine
1803--Dressing machine and warper invented in England by
Radcliffe, Ross, and Johnson.
1804--First cotton mill built in New Hampshire, at New
1805--Power loom successfully introduced in England
after many failures.
1806--First cotton mill built in Connecticut, at
1809--First cotton mill built in Maine, at Brunswick.
1812--First cotton mill built at Fall River.
1814--Cotton opener with lap attachment invented in
England by Creighton.
1815--Power loom introduced into the United States at
1816--First loom temple of Ira Draper patented in the
1818--Machinery for preparing sewing cotton invented in
England by Holt.
1822--First cotton factory erected at Lowell.
1823--Differential motion for roving frames patented by
Arnold. First export of raw cotton from Egypt to
1824--Tube frame or speeder patented by Danforth.
1825--Self-acting mule patented in England by Roberts.
1828--Ring spinning patented by John Thorpe. Cap
spinning patented by Danforth.
1829--Revolving loom temple improvements patented by Ira
1832--Stop-motion for drawing frames invented by
1833--Ring spinning frames first built by William
1834--Weft fork patented in England by Ramsbottom and
Hope. Shuttle-changing loom by Reid and Johnson.
1840--Automatic loom led off. Important temple
1849--First cotton mill erected in Lawrence.
Through this great change from hand to power work, thousands were
thrown out of employment in the great textile centers, and much
suffering occurred, which led to the smashing of machinery.
=Knitting Machinery.= Like many other industries, the hosiery trade
owes its first and most important impetus to the genius of one who was
not connected with the business in a practical way. This event took
place when the Rev. William Lee invented the hand frame. He was
married early in life, and his wife was obliged, on account of the
slender family finances, to knit continuously at home. Struck with the
monotony and toil involved in knitting with the hand pins, Mr. Lee
evolved a means of knitting by machinery and brought out the hand
stocking-frame, which to-day preserves its chief features very much as
Lee invented them. When knitting by hand, one must form each loop
separately, and loop follows loop laboriously until the width of
fabric has been worked. Lee contrived to make the whole row of loops
across the width simultaneously by arranging a needle for each loop
and placing in connection with each needle a sinker and other
apparatus for completing the formation of the loop. First of all, the
yarn is laid over the needles, which are arranged horizontally, and
the sinkers come down on the yarn and cause it to form partial loops
between the needles. The old loops of the previous course are now
brought forward and the new yarn is drawn through them in the same way
as is done on the hand pins. Thus the new yarn of one course is drawn
through the loops of the preceding one, and so the whole fabric is
built up. This frame of Lee's held its own in the great centers until
some thirty years ago.
Lee's hand frame gave way to what is termed the jack and sinker rotary
frame, which was like the hand frame in its chief features, but with
the advantage that all the motions were brought about by power. The
various operations were put under the control of a set of cams and
made to perform their movements in exactly the same way as in the case
of the hand frame. In the first power machine for knitting, the
machine builder used the cam mechanism, and in examining the latest
machines we find that he has persisted in this course throughout. The
cam movement is characterized by great smoothness of working and
absence of vibration, which is very necessary in a machine of the
delicate adjustment of the knitting frame. It is usual to connect some
of the parts with two of these cams, one of which controls the
up-and-down motion and the other the out-and-in movement. When these
two cams work in conjunction, we obtain all the possible degrees of
From the jack and sinker frame the next really important step was
taken when William Cotton brought out his famous Cotton's patent
frame. In his machine the frame was in a sense turned on its back, for
the parts, such as the needles, which had been horizontal, were made
vertical and vice versa. He also reduced the number of the moving
parts and perfected the cam arrangement. Another very important
development of the machine was when it was built in a number of
divisions so as to work a number of articles side by side at one time.
At present there are knitting frames which can make twelve full-sized
garments at one and the same time.
Another important improvement was effected when the fashioning
apparatus was supplied to the machine, by means of which the garments
could be shaped according to the human form by increasing or
decreasing the width as desired.