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Tag Archives: Samuel Crompton

Father of the Factory System 1769-1807


IT TOOK the work of many inventors to bring about the changes of the Industrial Revolution, but the man recognized as the greatest inventor of the age was James Watt, whose name is linked with the steam engine. Actually the steam engine was invented and used in coal mines long before Watt was born. What he invented was a greatly improved type of steam engine which was practical enough to make steam power available to factories for the first time. As a result of his invention, many large power-driven factories soon sprang into being, some of them employing hundreds of workers. Such factories could produce cloth so cheaply that it was almost impossible for people to make a living by spinning and weaving by hand in their homes. All the important changes of the Industrial Revolution took place during the span of James Watt’s lifetime. In 1736, the year of his birth in Scotland, spinning and weaving was still being done at home. Peasants not only made their own clothes, but also wove cloth to sell in the market place. Almost every country cottage had its spinning wheel and weaving loom. Wooden tubs were used to wash the raw wool and to color the finished cloth with dye. On the land surrounding the cottage, each weaver usually had a garden and kept a cow or two, some poultry and a horse. It was natural that he should feel close to the land, for his people had been farmers for many centuries. During the planting seasons and the busy times of harvest, he and his family let the spinning wheels and the loom stand idle while they worked in the fields. During the growing seasons and the long winter months, they devoted full time to spinning and weaving. It took five …

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