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CHAP. 5.


Silk Trade.

Weaving of Silk.

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Mr. John Lombe was succeeded by his brother William, a young man of a melancholy disposition, who committed suicide. The property then became the inheritance of Mr. Thomas Lombe, the cousin of the enterprising founder of it, and was conducted with much spirit and success; for about the year 1730, the works are said to have employed more than three hundred persons. In 1732 the patent expired, and the proprietor petitioned parliament for its renewal, alleging "that the works had been so long a time in perfecting, and the people in teaching, that there had been none to acquire emolument from the patent." The application was not successful, but a remunerating grant of £14,000. was voted to him, and a model of the works was ordered to be deposited in the tower of London. The proprietor was also introduced at court, and had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him. He did not long enjoy this reward of wealth and honour. On the 3rd of January, 1739, he expired, leaving to his widow an accumulated property, valued at little less than £120,000. On the 20th of February, 1739, the lease of the silk mill was assigned from Lady Lombe to Richard Wilson, esq. and the whole of the works were in the following July transferred to that gentleman for the sum of £4000. These premises were occupied for many years by Mr. Swift, who made many important additions to the machinery. The lease expired in 1803; and the mill is now in the occupation of Mr. William Taylor; who has entirely renewed the works, with numerous important improvements. In the year 1826, a fire broke out in the upper part of the old mill and did considerable damage.

In this preparatory sketch, we cannot pretend to describe this extraordinary combination of mechanism, except in a very cursory manner. The length of the building is one hundred and ten feet; its breadth thirty-nine feet; and its height fifty-five feet and a half. It contains five stories, besides the under-works, and is lighted by four hundred and sixty-eight windows. The whole of the rooms are filled with machinery constructed on the most modern principle. This elaborate machine (for one only it is) though occupying five apartments, is put in motion by a single waterwheel, twenty-three feet in diameter. All operations are performed here, from winding the raw silk to organzining or preparing it for the weavers.

Besides this original mill at Derby for the throwing of silk, there are twelve others in that town, and in the other parts of the county, at Glossop, Chesterfield, &c. there are five or six. In this branch of the silk trade, between two and three thousand hands are employed, a great proportion of whom are children and young women. The wages differ with respect to age, sex and capacity from 2s. or 3s. per week to about 20s.-The names of the manufacturers, who attend chiefly to throwing silk, will be found by reference to the body of the Directory.

The weaving of piece-goods in silk was first introduced into Derby by Mr. William Taylor, at his factory in Bag-lane, about seven or eight years ago. His example was followed by Messrs. Bridgett and Son, and by Messrs. Ambrose Moore and Co. and now sarcenets, gros-de-naples and other rich silks are manufactured, in a style equal to those made by the weavers of Spitalfields. There are now about two hundred and twenty

looms in work. The number of hands employed in this branch is about three hundred.

Messrs. James and C. S. Peet introduced the weaving of narrow piecegoods into Derby in 1823: they erected a large factory and fitted it up with looms and machinery, constructed with great ingenuity by Mr. Isaac Peet; to which they applied steam-power for the weaving galloons, doubles, &c. The Messrs. Peet are also considerable manufacturers of silk hose. The other ribbon weavers are Messrs. Smith, Bosley and Smith at Glossop, and Messrs. Frost and Co. of Derby. The latter have recently erected a handsome mill on the banks of the Derwent. The hands now employed in this branch of manufacture amount to upwards of four hundred.

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CHAP. 5.

Weaving of




and Peel's Machines.

The rapid rise of the cotton manufacture in this country is a subject of Cotton astonishment to other nations; and has been justly termed one of the greatest triumphs of enterprise aided by mechanical genius. Long after the middle of the last century, the cotton manufacture was in its infancy; it "Now forms the principal support and bulwark of the country, affording an advantageous field for the accumulation and employment of millions upon millions of capital, and of thousands upon thousands of workmen." The manufacture of cotton was probably introduced into England in the early part of the seventeenth century, but down to the comparatively late period of 1773, the weft only was cotton, and the manufacturers were dispersed in cottages throughout the country. They continued to labour under the disadvantage of importing linen-yarn for the warp or longitudinal threads of the fabric, while no additional supplies of cotton-yarn could be procured for weft, but by facilitating the processes of carding and spinning. The desired improvements originated with an illiterate, but most ingenious and inventive mechanic, named James Hargraves, a carpenter at Blackburn Hargraves' in Lancashire. He adapted the stock cards, used in the woollen manufacture, to the carding of cotton. The carding-machine soon succeeded Hargraves' invention; and was brought into use by Mr. Peel, the grandfather of the present eminent statesman, about the year 1762. Sir Richard Arkwright added some improvements to the carding-engine, but spinning by hand still continued to be an operation too tedious to fulfil the expectations of enterprising men, and in 1767, Hargraves constructed a machine called a spinning-jenny, which enabled a spinner to spin eight threads with the same facility that one had previously been spun; and the machine was subsequently brought to such perfection as to enable a little girl to work no fewer than from eighty to one hundred and twenty spindles. Hargraves thus opened the way to those splendid inventions and discoveries that have created and sustained a vast current of public and individual wealth beyond any thing recorded in the history of the world; but to himself, his inventions were productive of bankruptcy and ruin, and, to the indelible disgrace of his age and country, he was suffered to end his days, even after the merit of his inventions had been universally acknowledged, in the workhouse at Nottingham.


Still the jenny was applicable only to the spinning of cotton for weft, Spinning

* Edinburgh Review, for June, 1827. An excellent article upon the British cotton manufacture, to which we are indebted for much of the substance of our brief abstract, respecting this important branch of trade.


CHAP. 5. being unable to give to the yarn that degree of firmness and hardness which
Arkwright's is required in the longitudinal threads or warp. This deficiency was sup-

plied by the invention of the spinning frame, constructed by Sir Richard
Arkwright. That extraordinary individual was born at Preston in Lanca-
shire, in 1732. He was the youngest of thirteen children and was bred to
the trade of a barber. In very early life he turned his attention to mech-
anism; but he followed his original trade until he was thirty-five years of
age, both at Bolton-le-Moors and at Wirksworth in this county. About
that period he became an itinerant hair-dealer, and formed an acquaintance
with a clock-maker at Warrington of the name of Kay, to whom he seems
to have imparted his ideas, and in conjunction with whom he put together
the first machine for spinning by means of rollers. It was some time be-
fore this ingenious man could procure the aid of capital. He applied in
vain to a Mr. Atherton of Liverpool, but at length the celebrated Jedediah
Strutt of Derby, who, by the invention of the Derby rib, was acquiring a
fortune in the stocking manufacture, having seen Arkwright's inventions,
entered into partnership with him. In 1769, the first mill, upon Ark-
wright's principle, was erected at Nottingham. This was driven by horses.
A patent for spinning by rollers was obtained, and in 1771 a second fac-
tory, on a much larger scale, was built at Cromford in this county; the
machinery of which was turned by a water-wheel. Additional discoveries
and improvements were made, and a fresh patent for the whole was taken
out in 1775. The success which attended this invention excited the emu-
lation of the Lancashire manufacturers, and in 1772 they attempted to set
the first patent aside, on the ground that Sir Richard Arkwright was not
the original inventor. This allegation was unsupported by evidence, and
the action at law terminated in a verdict which confirmed the validity of
the patent.-In 1781, Sir Richard Arkwright's second patent, obtained in
1775 was attacked, and a verdict was obtained against him, not on the
ground of any prior invention, but because he had not given a sufficiently
distinct description of the machinery in the specification. On another trial
in 1785, a verdict was given in favour of Sir Richard Arkwright; but a
third action followed in June of the same year, in which the patent was
contested on the ground of a prior invention, as well as that of imperfect
specification. In support of the former, a reed-maker, of Bolton, named
Highs or Hayes, was, for the first time, brought forward, who asserted
that he had invented a machine for spinning by rollers previously to 1768,
and that he had employed Kay, the watchmaker at Warrington, to make
a model of the machine. Kay was brought forward to prove that he had
communicated that model to Arkwright. A verdict was given against the
patent, and the court, at the latter end of the same year, refused to grant
a new trial. There is, however, great improbability in the story told by
Highs and Kay; and it is difficult to suppose that if Highs was in reality
the inventor, he would not have come forward on the first trial in 1772,
but have remained sixteen years, a passive spectator of such astonishing
success, accomplished by means of which he pretended to be the originator.
The most intimate friends of Sir Richard Arkwright, and those best ac-
quainted with his character, never entertained the slightest doubt with
respect to the originality of the invention.


On the first introduction of the machines, upon Sir Richard Arkwright's CHAP. 5. principle, the factories containing them were subjected to the reiterated Cotton attacks of the labouring classes; and what was still more extraordinary, Manufactothe manufacturers themselves displayed the greatest animosity towards these inventions, and unanimously refused to purchase the yarn made by them. In 1774, when Messrs. Strutt and Needham had established a manufacture of calicoes, the manufacturers of Lancashire opposed, without success, the encouragement intended by the legislature on these "fabrics made of cotton lately introduced," which the act pronounced to be "a lawful and laudable manufacture."-Yet, notwithstanding an opposition, in which litigation and mob-violence were frequently allied, Sir Richard Arkwright acquired a princely fortune; and on presenting an address to his late Majesty, in the year 1786, when he served the office of sheriff for Derbyshire, the honour of knighthood was conferred upon him. He had never enjoyed good health, and on the third of August, in the year 1792, he closed his truly useful life at Cromford, in the sixtieth year of his age.

The mule-jenny, so called from its being a compound of the jenny and Crompton's the spinning frame, was invented by Mr. Samuel Crompton of Bolton-le- Mule-jenny. Moors, in 1775. All sorts of wefts are now spun by this machine. The inventor of this machine perfected it gradually, and took out no patent to secure him a reward for his labour. In 1812, he applied to parliament for a remuneration, and it was shown that upwards of four millions of spindles on his principle were used in buildings and machinery, valued at from three to four millions sterling. Parliament voted him the very inadequate sum of £5,000.-In 1792, Mr. William Kelly of Glasgow, discovered a mode of working the mule, which had previously been a hand-machine, by mechanical power.




The power-loom, for the weaving of cotton, was the invention of the Cartwright's Rev. Mr. Cartwright, a clergyman of Kent, who took out a patent for his invention in 1787; and the progress of power-loom weaving was greatly aided by a beautiful machine for dressing the yarn used as warps, which is now called Ratcliffe's dressing machine, but was invented by Mr. Thomas Johnson of Bradbury.-There are now upwards of 50,000 power-looms in Great Britain. At the accession of the late king, in 1760, the entire value Cotton of all the cotton goods, manufactured in Great Britain, was estimated to amount to £200,000. a year, and the number of persons employed was quite inconsiderable. But after the invention of the jenny and the spinning frame, the quantity of cotton imported, the value of goods manufactured, and the number of persons employed, increased in a geometrical proportion. The imports from 1771 to 1775, amounted on an average to 4,764,589 lbs. and from that period to the dissolution of Sir Richard Arkwright's second patent in 1785, the annual average imports had increased to 7,470,845 lbs. In 1824, Mr. Huskisson stated to the House of Commons, that the total value of the cotton goods annually manufactured in Great Britain amounted to the prodigious sum of 314 millions; and we shall certainly not exceed the truth, if we estimate their present value at 40 millions.

We shall not attempt to trace the cotton manufacture of Derbyshire, Cotton earlier than the erection of the mill at Cromford, by Sir Richard Arkwright,


CHAP. 5. in 1771. There are now two mills at Cromford, a third at Masson, and Cotton Mills. a fourth at Bakewell, which was also built by Sir Richard Arkwright. In

Weaving of Muslin.

these are employed about one thousand persons, of which four-fifths are women and children. At Belper are the cotton mills of the Messrs. Strutt. There were formerly three mills upon the Derwent at this place, the first of which was erected by Mr. Jedediah Strutt, in the year 1776. Two of these are now standing, but the third was destroyed by fire in 1803. The principal of these mills is two hundred feet long, thirty feet wide and six stories high. At these mills about fifteen hundred persons are constantly employed. There are also three cotton mills at Millford, belonging to the same proprietors, where about five hundred persons are employed in the manufacture of cotton-thread. The Messrs. Evans employ between five and six hundred persons at Darley Abbey, near Derby. There are in the whole county at present about one hundred and twelve mills for the same manufacture, employing, in the whole, not less than twenty thousand per


The parish of Glossop, situated amidst the most mountainous tracks of the High Peak, has become, within little more than forty years, one of the most important seats of manufacture within Derbyshire. Of the hundred and twelve cotton mills existing at present in this county, there are fiftysix in Glossop parish, without reckoning five other similar mills, upon or beyond the boundary brooks. In the hamlets connected with this parish, an immense number of manufactures and rising trades of various descriptions are scattered. Calico-weaving is carried on in eleven of these hamlets, and calico-printing in four. In seven of these places, where in the year 1780 there were only a few hovels and here or there a farm-stead, there are now establishments for woollen cloth spinning, weaving and dressing; and throughout these hamlets, there are numerous factories for muslin, cambric, and fustian weaving; for bleaching and dyeing; for hat-making, paper-making and tanning; besides smithies, and iron-works of every description. In the last quarter of the last century there was but one mill in the whole of this district, and that was employed in grinding the scanty crop of oats into meal for the food of a few agricultural inhabitants.-The late Samuel Oldknow, esq. was one of the earliest manufacturing settlers in this vicinity. He found a powerful stream coursing its way through a deep dell, and instantly perceived the advantages to be derived from it. He established himself near Mellor; and his example and success in business soon procured him many neighbours, until the banks of the Goyte and the Etherow became the busy scenes of industrious, enterprising and ingenious men.

The first mill built by Mr. Oldknow was upon the Arkwright principle, and he improved the fineness of the threads. Having accomplished this object in the spinning, he applied it to the weaving of British muslins, and constructed mills for that purpose, which he executed by the power-loom. Mr. Oldknow was ever active in public pursuits, and the Peak-Forest canal originated chiefly with him. Towards the close of his useful existence he occupied himself much in agricultural pursuits, and at his lamented death, which happened in September 1828, he left the valley of Glossop improved in its agricultural produce, as well as enriched by manufacture; and it

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