Putting-out system

The putting-out system is a means of subcontracting work. Historically, it was also known as the workshop system and the domestic system. In putting-out, work is contracted by a central agent to subcontractors who complete the work in off-site facilities, either in their own homes or in workshops with multiple craftsmen.

It was used in the English and American textile industries, in shoemaking, lock-making trades, and making parts for small firearms from the Industrial Revolution until the mid-19th century; however, after the invention of the sewing machine in 1846, the system lingered on for the making of ready-made men's clothing.[1]

The domestic system was suited to pre-urban times because workers did not have to travel from home to work, which was quite impracticable due to the state of roads and footpaths, and members of the household spent many hours in farm or household tasks. Early factory owners sometimes had to build dormitories to house workers, especially girls and women. Putting-out workers had some flexibility to balance farm and household chores with the putting-out work, this being especially important in winter.

The development of this trend is often considered to be a form of proto-industrialization, and remained prominent until the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.

At that point, it underwent name and geographical changes. However, bar some technological advancements, the putting-out system has not changed in essential practice. Contemporary examples can be found in China, India, and South America, and are not limited to the textiles industry.


Historian David A. Hounshell writes:

In 1854, the British obtained their military small arms through a system of contracting with private manufacturers located principally in the Birmingham and London areas ... Although significant variation occurred, almost all of the contractors manufactured parts or fitted them through a highly decentralized, putting-out process using small workshops and highly skilled labor. In small arms making as in lock production, the "workshop system" rather than the "factory system" was the rule.[2]

All of the processes were carried out under different cottage roofs. It was replaced by inside contracting and the factory system.

European cloth and other trades

The domestic system was a popular system of cloth production in Europe. It was also used in various other industries, including the manufacture of wrought iron ironware such as pins, pots, and pans for ironmongers.

It existed as early as the 15th century, but was most prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries. It served as a way for capitalists and workers to bypass the guild system, which was thought to be cumbersome and inflexible, and to access a rural labour force. Having the workers work in their homes was convenient for both parties. Workers would work from home, manufacturing individual articles from raw materials, then bring them to a central place of business, such as a marketplace or a larger town, to be assembled and sold. In other cases travelling agents or traders would tour the villages, supplying the raw materials and collecting the finished goods. The raw materials were often provided by the merchant, who received the finished product, hence the synonymous term putting-out system. The advantages of this system were that workers involved could work at their own speed while at home, and children working in the system were better treated than they would have been in the factory system, although the homes might be polluted by the toxins from the raw materials. As the woman of a family usually worked at home, someone was often there to look after any children. The domestic system is often cited as one of the causes of the rise of the nuclear family in Europe, as the large amount of profits gained by common people made them less dependent on their extended family. These considerable sums of money also led to a much wealthier peasantry with more furniture, higher-quality food, and better clothing than they had had before. It was mostly centralized in Western Europe and did not take a strong hold in Eastern Europe.

Of course, the acquisition of profit largely depended on which part of the putting-out system one was associated with. If one was a worker in the London textiles industry, for example, the cost of hiring sewing equipment and purchasing thread often precluded the worker from eating on a regular basis. Likewise, the fourteen-hour days led to many untimely deaths.

Thomas Hood's poem The Song of the Shirt (1843) describes the wretched life of a woman in Lambeth labouring under such a system. It was written in honour of a Mrs. Biddell, a Lambeth widow and seamstress living in wretched conditions. In what was, at that time, common practice, Mrs. Biddell sewed trousers and shirts in her home using materials given to her by her employer, for which she was forced to give a £2 deposit. In a desperate attempt to feed her starving infants, Mrs. Biddell pawned the clothing she had made, thus accruing a debt she could not pay. Mrs. Biddell, whose first name has not been recorded, was sent to a workhouse, and her ultimate fate is unknown; however, her story became a catalyst for those who actively opposed the wretched conditions of England’s working poor, who often spent seven days a week labouring under inhuman conditions, barely managing to survive and with no prospect for relief.

Pre-industrial textile entrepreneur estate
1795 home of a Swedish businessman who contracted up to 200 domestic workers, who came here to get the raw material and returned after a couple of weeks with textiles, that local peddlers from the city of Borås then bought.

Anders Jonsson (1816–1890) was a famous Swedish entrepreneur who continued a putting-out business at Holsljunga. He contracted up to 200 domestic workers, who came to his house to get the raw material and returned after a couple of weeks with textiles, that local pedlars from the city of Borås then bought and went out to sell among other things around Sweden and Norway.

Cottage industry

Double carder
19th-century ox-powered double carding machine
Reine Berthe et les fileueses, 1888
Queen Bertha of Burgundy instructing girls to spin flax on spindles using distaffs

A cottage industry is a small-scale industry, where the creation of products and services is home-based, rather than factory-based. While products and services made by cottage industries are often unique and distinctive, given that they are mostly not mass-produced, producers in this sector often face manifold afterdeals when they are without the backing of the government or when latter is in favour of large-scale industrialisation, and hence is the lesser popularity of such industry in the latterday world.

A cottage industry is an industry—primarily manufacturing—which includes many producers, working from their homes, typically part time. The term originally referred to home workers who were engaged in a task such as sewing, lace-making, wall hangings, electronics, or household manufacturing. Some industries which are usually operated from large, centralized factories were cottage industries before the Industrial Revolution. Business operators would travel around the world, buying raw materials, delivering them to people who would work on them, and then collecting the finished goods to sell, or typically to ship to another market. One of the factors which allowed the Industrial Revolution to take place in Western Europe was the presence of these business people who had the ability to expand the scale of their operations. Cottage industries were very common in the time when a large proportion of the population was engaged in agriculture, because the farmers (and their families) often had both the time and the desire to earn additional income during the part of the year (winter) when there was little work to do farming or selling produce by the farm's roadside.

See also


  1. ^ Taylor, George Rogers (1989) [1951]. The Transportation Revolution, 1815–1860. New York: Rinehart & Co. (reissued: Sharpe). ISBN 978-0-87332-101-3.
  2. ^ Hounshell 1984, p. 17.


  • Hounshell, David A. (1984), From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States, Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 978-0-8018-2975-8, LCCN 83016269
  • Williamson, Oliver E. (1985), The Economic Institutions of Capitalism, New York: The Free Press, ISBN 978-0-684-86374-0
Anderton, Lancashire

Anderton is a civil parish in the Borough of Chorley in Lancashire, England. It is now a suburb of Adlington, 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Bolton, Its eastern boundary is in the Rivington Reservoir. Grimeford village is in the parish. In 2001, the parish had a population of 1,206. increasing to 1,316 at the 2011 census.The M61 runs north to south through the parish, and is the site of Rivington services.


A dressmaker is a person who makes custom clothing for women, such as dresses, blouses, and evening gowns. A dressmaker is also called a mantua-maker (historically) or a modiste.

Factory system

The factory system is a method of manufacturing using machinery and division of labour. Because of the high capital cost of machinery and factory buildings, factories were typically privately owned by wealthy individuals who employed the operative labour. Use of machinery with the division of labour reduced the required skill level of workers and also increased the output per worker.

The factory system was first adopted in Britain at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century and later spread around the world. It replaced the putting-out system. The main characteristic of the factory system is the use of machinery, originally powered by water or steam and later by electricity. Other characteristics of the system mostly derive from the use of machinery or economies of scale, the centralization of factories, and standardization of interchangeable parts.

Ie (trading houses)

Ie (家, lit. "house") were pre-modern Japanese trading houses and precursors to the modern zaibatsu and keiretsu. They first emerged in the mid-18th century, and shared many features with the Western concept of cottage industry. The ie operated on a system very similar to what economists today call the "Putting-Out system" or "workshop system." City-based merchants would provide rural producers with raw materials and equipment, and would then sell the final product in the cities.

This level of organization to production, with one trading house (in effect, one company) controlling production, transportation, and sales, was unprecedented in Japan, and can easily been seen as the forerunner to the factory system, economic and industrial modernization, and the rise of the zaibatsu (Japanese monopolies). One of the key differences, organizationally, however, between the ie and the zaibatsu which would come later is that the ie always focused on producing and selling only one or two types of goods; so-called "horizontal zaibatsu" would seek to deal in many unrelated types of goods. For example, today, Mitsubishi is both an automobile company and a bank.

Two of the ie, founded by merchants in the early 17th century, survive today as Mitsui and Sumitomo, both major modern Japanese corporations.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the US, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

Textiles were the dominant industry of the Industrial Revolution in terms of employment, value of output and capital invested. The textile industry was also the first to use modern production methods.The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, and many of the technological innovations were of British origin. By the mid-18th century Britain was the world's leading commercial nation, controlling a global trading empire with colonies in North America and the Caribbean, and with some political influence on the Indian subcontinent, through the activities of the East India Company. The development of trade and the rise of business were major causes of the Industrial Revolution.The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. In particular, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. Some economists say that the major impact of the Industrial Revolution was that the standard of living for the general population began to increase consistently for the first time in history, although others have said that it did not begin to meaningfully improve until the late 19th and 20th centuries.GDP per capita was broadly stable before the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of the modern capitalist economy, while the Industrial Revolution began an era of per-capita economic growth in capitalist economies. Economic historians are in agreement that the onset of the Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals and plants.Although the structural change from agriculture to industry is widely associated with Industrial Revolution, in United Kingdom it was already almost complete by 1760.The precise start and end of the Industrial Revolution is still debated among historians, as is the pace of economic and social changes. Eric Hobsbawm held that the Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the 1780s and was not fully felt until the 1830s or 1840s, while T.S. Ashton held that it occurred roughly between 1760 and 1830. Rapid industrialization first began in Britain, starting with mechanized spinning in the 1780s, with high rates of growth in steam power and iron production occurring after 1800. Mechanized textile production spread from Great Britain to continental Europe and the United States in the early 19th century, with important centres of textiles, iron and coal emerging in Belgium and the United States and later textiles in France.An economic recession occurred from the late 1830s to the early 1840s when the adoption of the original innovations of the Industrial Revolution, such as mechanized spinning and weaving, slowed and their markets matured. Innovations developed late in the period, such as the increasing adoption of locomotives, steamboats and steamships, hot blast iron smelting and new technologies, such as the electrical telegraph, widely introduced in the 1840s and 1850s, were not powerful enough to drive high rates of growth. Rapid economic growth began to occur after 1870, springing from a new group of innovations in what has been called the Second Industrial Revolution. These new innovations included new steel making processes, the large-scale manufacture of machine tools and the use of increasingly advanced machinery in steam-powered factories.

Inside contracting

Inside contracting is the practice of hiring contractors who work inside the proprietor's factory. It replaced the putting out system, where contractors worked in their own facilities. Inside contracting was the system favored by the Springfield and Harper's Ferry Armories. Since the manufacturing system developed in the armories also became popular (the American system of manufacturing), manufacturers in the early 19th century tended to hire people trained in the armories as managers. They brought with them the practice of inside contracting.

The manufacturer hired inside contractors and provided materials and machinery. Each inside contractor was expected to hire his own employees and meet certain production and quality goals, but everything else was left to him. As a result, the system rewarded ingenuity, but also rewarded local optimization. For example, it was to the inside contractor's benefit to allow machinery to deteriorate toward the end of his contract since maintenance was costly and he might not reap the long-term benefit if he didn't get another contract. The system was eventually replaced with the factory system, in which everyone was an employee of the manufacturer directly.

List of mills in Wigan

This is a list of cotton spinning mills, weaving sheds, bleachers and dyers and other textile mills in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan in Greater Manchester, England. They are in the former townships of Ashton-in-Makerfield, Aspull, Astley, Atherton, Bedford, Leigh, Golborne, Haigh Hindley Ince-in-Makerfield, Orrell, Pennington, Leigh, Standish, Tyldesley, Westleigh, Leigh and Wigan which were historically in Lancashire but since its creation by the Local Government Act 1972, are part of the metropolitan borough. The textile industry in the Wigan and Leigh areas grew out of a domestic putting-out system particularly fustians. Cotton, imported through the Port of Liverpool became more important in the late-18th century and more so after the advent of the Bridgewater and Leeds and Liverpool Canals and after that the first railways, the Bolton and Leigh and Liverpool and Manchester Railways. Wigan fabric was a stout cloth made from coarse cotton.

The Wigan borough has few fast-flowing streams to provide water power and consequently there were few factories until steam power became available. In the 19th century, textile mills on the Lancashire Coalfield were powered by cheap easily accessible coal. In 1818 Wigan had eight mills in the Wallgate area and it developed as a cotton town in Victorian times. From 1889 until the First World War the largest ring spinning company in Britain was Farington, Eckersley & Co of Western and Swan Meadow Mills.After 1827 a silk industry grew in the Leigh parish and silk fabrics were woven on domestic hand looms and in weaving sheds using silk yarn supplied from Macclesfield or Leek by agents from Manchester. In the mid-19th century silk weaving employed a significant number of people. Domestic weavers travelled from the surrounding townships to and from the agents' warehouses in Leigh. At its peak in 1830 about 10,000 people, mostly domestic, were employed in silk weaving in the parish, after which the numbers declined to 8,000 in 1841 and 2,301 in 1871. By 1836 the town had 20 silk firms, 15 in 1848, five by 1876 and two in 1897. Powered weaving was introduced from the 1850s reducing the number of domestic weavers required. Some manufacturers employed weavers in their homes and in weaving sheds. Bickham and Pownall owners of Stanley Mill employed 1,000 workers of which 500–600 worked in the mill and the rest in their homes. There were nine silk weaving sheds in 1870 but most were converted as cotton took over. In 1891 Samuel Brown at Brook Mill, George Griffin on Brewery Lane and Charles Hilton and Son in Charles Street, all in Bedford were manufacturing silk fabrics.In 1911 in Leigh, 6,146 people were employed in the cotton industry and from 1913, measured by the number of spindles, it was the fifth-largest spinning centre in Greater Manchester. Cotton weaving was concentrated at Kirkhall Lane Mills built in 1836 and at Jones Brothers Bedford New Mills started in 1834 which developed into an integrated mill for spinning and weaving. In the early-20th century three large weaving sheds were constructed at Foundry Street, Elizabeth Street and Etherstone Street. For cotton spinning, multi-storey mills with massive floor areas were developed. In Westleigh, the Victoria Mills (Hayes Mills) off Kirkhall Lane were built from 1856 by James and John Hayes who had three mills by 1887. By 1902 Tunnicliffe and Hampson had built the three Firs Mills. Two clusters of mills were built in Bedford, along the Bedford Brook and in the 20th century, near the Bridgewater Canal. The design of the surviving late-19th and early 20th-century factories along the Bridgewater Canal in Bedford is an example of the peak of the Lancashire mill-building tradition. Combined Egyptian Mills, a joint-stock company formed in 1929 with headquarters at Howe Bridge Mills in Atherton, was the second largest cotton-spinning company in the world with 34 mills and 3.2 million spindles.

Lowell Mills

Lowell Mills refers to the 19th-century mills that operated in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, which was named after Francis Cabot Lowell, who introduced a new manufacturing system called the "Lowell System", also known as the "Waltham-Lowell System".


Manufacturing is the production of merchandise for use or sale using labour and machines, tools, chemical and biological processing, or formulation. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial design, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Such finished goods may be sold to other manufacturers for the production of other, more complex products, such as aircraft, household appliances, furniture, sports equipment or automobiles, or sold to wholesalers, who in turn sell them to retailers, who then sell them to end users and consumers.

Manufacturing engineering or manufacturing process are the steps through which raw materials are transformed into a final product. The manufacturing process begins with the product design, and materials specification from which the product is made. These materials are then modified through manufacturing processes to become the required part.

Modern manufacturing includes all intermediate processes required in the production and integration of a product's components. Some industries, such as semiconductor and steel manufacturers use the term fabrication instead.

The manufacturing sector is closely connected with engineering and industrial design. Examples of major manufacturers in North America include General Motors Corporation, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, General Dynamics, Boeing, Pfizer, and Precision Castparts. Examples in Europe include Volkswagen Group, Siemens, FCA and Michelin. Examples in Asia include Toyota, Yamaha, Panasonic, LG, Samsung and Tata Motors.

Manufacturing engineering

Manufacturing Engineering is a branch of professional engineering.

Manufacturing engineering requires the ability to plan the practices of manufacturing; to research and to develop tools, processes, machines and equipment; and to integrate the facilities and systems for producing quality products with the optimum expenditure of capital.The manufacturing or production engineer's primary focus is to turn raw material into an updated or new product in the most effective, efficient & economic way possible.

Peter Drinkwater

Peter Drinkwater (1750 – 15 November 1801) was an English cotton manufacturer and merchant.

Born in Whalley, Lancashire, he had a successful career as a fustian manufacturer using the domestic putting-out system, and as a merchant based in Bolton and Manchester, before he turned to large-scale factory production in the 1780s.In 1782 he opened his first cotton mill on the River Weaver in Northwich, Cheshire and in 1789 he started construction of the Piccadilly Mill in Manchester. This was the first mill in Manchester to be directly driven by a steam engine.

Piece work

Piece work (or piecework) is any type of employment in which a worker is paid a fixed piece rate for each unit produced or action performed regardless of time.

Power loom

A power loom is a mechanized loom, and was one of the key developments in the industrialization of weaving during the early Industrial Revolution. 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.

By 1850 there were 260,000 power looms in operation in England. Fifty years later came the Northrop loom which replenished the shuttle when it was empty. This replaced the Lancashire loom.


Proto-industrialization (also spelled proto-industrialisation) was a possible phase in the development of modern industrial economies that preceded, and created conditions for, the establishment of fully industrial societies. Proto-industrialisation generally refers to the phase before industrialisation. Proto-industrialization was marked by the increasing involvement of agrarian families in market-oriented craft production, mainly through the putting-out system organized by merchant capitalists. It was an effective method of production which was controlled by merchants and had links to developing European consumerism. However, the phase was not observed across Europe, and nor did it always smoothly transition into the Industrial Revolution proper.

The term was coined by F. F. Mendels in 1972,

though a UNESCO colloquium on the 10th anniversary of the deaths of Einstein and Teilhard de Chardin and published in 1971 discusses "the basis for proto-industrialization".The applicability of proto-industrialization in Europe has since been challenged. M.J. Daunton, for example, argues that proto-industrialisation "excludes too much" to fully explain the expansion of industry: not only do proponents of proto-industrialisation ignore the vital town-based industries in pre-industrial economies, but also ignores "rural and urban industry based upon non-domestic organisation"; referring to how mines, mills, forges and furnaces fit into the agrarian economy.Initially using surplus labor available during slow periods of the agricultural seasons, proto-industrialization led to specialization - not only in industrial production but also in commercial agricultural production. This allowed reciprocal trade favored by regional economies of scale. It resulted in accumulation of capital and in the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills by merchant capitalists, which facilitated the development of large-scale, and capital-intensive production methods in the full industrialization phase that followed.

Proto-industrialization sparked social changes in traditional agrarian societies that would become more marked during full industrialization, such as greater independence of women and children, who gained a means of income separate from the family subsistence farm. During this phase of industrialisation, machines were not used. They were not even invented at that time. People could only use their hands or any hand-made material to produce required goods.The term proto-industrialization has also been used in reference to Mughal India during the 17th–18th centuries, when the Indian subcontinent experienced a growth in manufacturing industries and its economy had similar conditions to 18th-century Western Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution.

Samuel Oldknow

Samuel Oldknow (1756–1828) was an English cotton manufacturer.

Samuel Oldknow Jnr, the eldest son of Samuel Oldknow Sr and Margery Foster, was born 5 October 1756 in Anderton, near Chorley, Lancashire, and died 18 September 1828 at Mellor Lodge, Derbyshire. He had an younger sister named Elizabeth (1758-1762) [according to the grave at Rivington Unitarian Chapel] and a brother, Thomas (c.1755/56-1791 d.aged 35 according to the grave at Mellor Parish Church). Oldknow was educated at the local Rivington Grammar School and later served as an apprentices in his uncle’s draper’s shop in Nottingham. His family were members of the Rivington Unitarian Chapel, where his father was interred in 1759 at the age of 25. Following the death of his father, Oldknow's mother Margery continued to live with the children at Roscoe Lowe Farm, one of the properties she had inherited from her father Thomas Foster a local yeoman. Margery later (in 1770) married John Clayton, a farmer, with whom she had three children: Margery, Samuel and John. Oldknow never married; he was at one point in his life engaged to marry the daughter (and heiress) of Peter Drinkwater a textile manufacturer of Manchester, who in 1794 had bought the Manor of Prestwich. The engagement was called off as his business declined and Oldknow died a bachelor.

Oldknow continued to have close connections to Rivington. In 1779 he purchased a number of spinning mules (also known as Hall i' th' Wood wheels, invented by Samuel Crompton of Bolton) suitable for use in the manufacture of muslin. He obtained finance of £1,000 from Abraham Crompton, Esq of Chorley Hall with whom he had both church and seemingly some family connection. By 1781 Oldknow had entered into partnership with his brother, Thomas, and he returned to live at Anderton in 1782, expanding into the manufacture of cotton goods. The Oldknow brothers' fabrics became favoured in London, where they formed a business agreement with the merchant Samuel Salte; this was the start of his rise to great success.

Oldknow used the putting-out system of production in Anderton near Rivington, whereby raw cotton was distributed to spinners and yarn to weavers who worked in their homes and workshops. The finished cloth was then returned to Oldknow's warehouse for checking and payment. This system was not suited to muslin manufacturing due to production levels and he was forced to purchase yarn from spinners who had taken advantage of mechanised production, such as Richard Arkwright

In 1784, financed by a loan of £3,000 from Arkwright, Oldknow joined the great cotton boom in Stockport. There he purchased a house, warehouse and land on Upper Hillgate from Giles Walmsley; allowing him to increase production at lower costs. He concentrated on weaving 50-70 count muslins and calicoes using the putting out system employing up to 300 weavers. Oldknow obtained yarn from a large number and variety of small spinners; some having a single jenny at home to others who had small factories with several mules. By 1786 he had become the foremost muslin manufacturer in Britain, with 300 skilled weavers using 500 looms at Stockport and 159 weavers at Anderton. Oldknow's profits were £17,000 for each year in 1786 and 1787. Quality was an issue. In 1790 mules started to be powered from lineshafts and in the following year Oldknow established his own steam-powered spinning factory at Stockport mills at Hillgate producing 120 count. The Boulton and Watt engine was rated at 8 hp. There was a smaller factory at Carrs in Stockport; a bleaching plant at Heaton Mersey and finishing factories at Bullock Smithy and Waterside in Disley. He continued to keep warehouses at Anderton and Manchester. Spinning worked on the factory system, while weaving operated by putting out. Slowly, ancillary processes such as warping started to be done in the factory by Oldknow, and then weavers were encouraged to move their looms into the loom house before the final stage came when Oldknow provided the looms and employed the weavers on a wage.

In 1787 Oldknow began the purchase large areas of land at Mellor where the first mill, completed in 1790, created work for 2000 people. This new mill used the first Boulton and Watt steam engine for turning the winding machine. Mellor Mill was a brick structure six storeys high and 400 feet long. As part of its construction the River Goyt was diverted, three millponds were created and a system of tunnels, channels and wheelpits built. The millponds still remain and are now known as the "Roman Lakes".

In 1793 Oldknow opened another mill at Mellor and began actively promoting construction of the Peak Forest Canal and the Peak Forest Tramway.Oldknow's business greatly depended on his ability to raise credit (much of which was with the Arkwright family) and it was affected when the muslin market fell, partly as a result of the outbreak of hostilities with France. This downturn resulted in Oldknow mortgaging his estates in Mellor and Marple to Richard Arkwright Junior for a loan of £11,000. Oldknow also had to sell the Heaton Mersey and Anderton operations. Although the Hillgate factory did not come into full production until 1793, Oldknow was by then in financial crisis. He was forced to lease Hillgate in 1794 and had sold it by 1801.Oldknow shifted his operations to Mellor, where he pursued his interest in high farming as well as running a spinning factory. By the early 19th Century the mill had over 500 employees, including a number of parish apprentices who were brought up from London. The mill at Mellor was never particularly profitable, and Oldknow's debt grew, reaching £206,000 at the time of his death.

Oldknow's other business ventures included farming, coal mining and production of lime at Mellor and Marple, and he improved communications with nearby industrial centres to sell his products.Oldknow was one of the sponsors of the Peak Forest Canal, which opened in 1804. He also invested in a turnpike road which went to Stockport. Oldknow's farming activities allowed him to supply his workers with milk, meat, vegetables and coal and he also built housing for the workforce. Oldknow used his own system of paper money to pay his workforce which could be exchanged for goods at the village shop or for cash via third parties. He was known as a good employer.

Oldknow was a regular worshipper at the Church of All Saints, Marple and is credited for raising the funds for its restoration and rebuilding work which commenced in 1808 and was completed by 1811, with continued improvements to 1816. In 1826, Oldknow donated the land for the building of its Vicarage.

Oldknow also served as High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1824.In his later years, Oldknow was engaged in his farming interests and, shortly before his death, became President of Derbyshire Agricultural Society. At his death his factory was mortgaged to the Arkwrights and he played a minor role in its running.

Following Oldknow's death on 18 September 1828 the factory passed to the Arkwrights. Oldknow's Factory was destroyed by fire in 1892 and although no ground level evidence still exists, there are underground parts of the old mill still present. Oldknow was buried at the Church of All Saints, Marple.

Spinning (textiles)

Spinning is the twisting together of drawn-out strands of fibers to form yarn, and is a major part of the textile industry. The yarn is then used to create textiles, which are then used to make clothing and many other products. There are several industrial processes available to spin yarn, as well as hand-spinning techniques where the fiber is drawn out, twisted, and wound onto a bobbin.

The yarn issuing from the drafting rollers passes through a thread-guide, round a traveller that is free to rotate around a ring, and then onto a tube or bobbin, which is carried on a spindle, the axis of which passes through a center of the ring.The spindle is driven (usually at an angular velocity that is either constant or changes only slowly) and the traveller is dragged around a ring by the loop of yarn passing round it. If the drafting rollers were stationary, the angular velocity of the traveller would be the same as that of the spindle and each revolution of the spindle would cause one turn of twist to be inserted in the loop of yarn betweem the roller nip and the traveller. In spinning, however the yarn is continually issuing from the rollers of the drafting system and, under these cirmunstances, the angular velocity of the traveller is less than that of the spindle by an amount that is just sufficientto allow the yarn to be wound onto the bobbin at the same rate as that at which it issues from the drafting rollers. Each revolution of the traveller now inserts one turn of twist into the loop of yarn between the roller nip and the traveller but, in equilibrium, the number of turns of twist in the loop of yarn remains constant as twisted yarn is passing through the traveller at a corresponding rate.

Spinning jenny

The spinning jenny is a multi-spindle spinning frame, and was one of the key developments in the industrialization of weaving during the early Industrial Revolution. It was invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves in Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire in England. The device reduced the amount of work needed to produce cloth, with a worker able to work eight or more spools at once. This grew to 120 as technology advanced. The yarn produced by the jenny was not very strong until Richard Arkwright invented the water-powered 'water frame', which produced yarn harder and stronger than that of the initial spinning jenny. It started the factory system.

Weavers' cottage

A weavers' cottage was (and to an extent is) a type of house used by weavers for cloth production in the putting-out system sometimes known as the domestic system.

Weavers' cottages were common in Great Britain, often with dwelling quarters on the lower floors and loom-shop on the top floor. Cellar loomshops on the ground floor or in the basement were found where cotton was woven, as they provided high humidity. A loom-shop can be often recognised by a long row of windows which provided maximum light for the weaver.


Weaving is a method of textile production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. Other methods are knitting, crocheting, felting, and braiding or plaiting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling. (Weft is an old English word meaning "that which is woven"; compare leave and left.) The method in which these threads are inter-woven affects the characteristics of the cloth.

Cloth is usually woven on a loom, a device that holds the warp threads in place while filling threads are woven through them. A fabric band which meets this definition of cloth (warp threads with a weft thread winding between) can also be made using other methods, including tablet weaving, back strap loom, or other techniques without looms.The way the warp and filling threads interlace with each other is called the weave. The majority of woven products are created with one of three basic weaves: plain weave, satin weave, or twill. Woven cloth can be plain (in one colour or a simple pattern), or can be woven in decorative or artistic design.

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