Copy of `Cotton times - Glossary of the industrial revolution`

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Cotton times - Glossary of the industrial revolution
Category: Agriculture and Industry > Industrial revolution
Date & country: 13/10/2007, UK
Words: 45


Agricultural Revolution
Period of major change in British agricultural practices that partly preceded and partly overlapped the Industrial Revolution. Land enclosures in the 18th century brought an end to medieval methods and encouraged large-scale farming, with consequent improvement in scale and methods.

Backing off
Part of the operating cycle of the spinning mule, as the spindles are reversed to unwind coils of yarn.

Billy
An improved form of spinning jenny.

Blanketeers
Name given to Manchester district workers who attempted to march on London in 1817 to deliver petition to King - they carried blankets to sleep on.

Card
Stiff wire brush used to disentangle and straighten cotton fibres prior to spinning.

Carding engine
Mechanised version of the card, with the raw cotton being passed over a spiked drum and processed into a sliver.

Chartism
Radical movement of the 1830s and 40s aimed at persuading Parliament to adopt a six-point charter which would have brought about major parliamentary reform.

Cholera
Water-born plague that swept Britain several times during the 19th century.

Co-operative movement
An attempt to provide an alternative to capitalism, where organisations - notably grocery stores - were run by and for members. Early attempts by men like Robert Owen to establish co-operative communities met with no lasting success, but a shop set up by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844 set the pattern. Co-op members could purchase basic supplies of food, fuel and clothing at reasonable prices, with surplus profits being returned to them in the form of a regular dividend.

Combination Acts
Parliamentary Acts passed in 1800 forbidding the formation of combinations, or trades unions, and thus outlawing strikes. Repealed in 1824.

Cop
Finished cotton thread formed into a cylindrical package with conical ends.

Corn Laws
A device to keep the cost of wheat and other grain artificially high in Britain. The law, passed in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, allowed the importation of grain free of duty only when the domestic price reached 80s a quarter. This brought tremendous suffering for the poor, but the laws were not repealed until 1846, following a long and bitter battle led by the Anti-Corn Law League.

Cotton gin
Machine perfected in 1793 by American inventor Eli Whitney to separate cotton from its seed.

Count
The number of hanks of finished yarn, each 840 yards long, that can be made from one pound of cotton. So, the higher the count, the finer the thread.

Devil
Machine used in the cotton-waste industry. Fitted with teeth in a revolving cylinder, it was designed to rip apart starched, hardened cop bottoms as a first step in the recovery of waste thread.

Doffing
Removing completed cops from mule spindles.

Drafting
Drawing out or attenuation of the roving on a spinning mule. This is achieved initially by drafting rollers and then by the draw cycle of the machine.

Draw
Part of the mule cycle, where the spindles are pulled away from the rollers, stretching the roving as twist is also imparted.

Finishing
After cloth has been woven, it goes through a series of finishing processes, which can include bleaching, dyeing and printing.

Fulling
A process which turns woollen cloth into felt by the application of heat, water and pressure, which locks together the fibres. Fulling mills used water power to lift drop hammers which constantly pounded the material. In earlier times, similar results were achieved by treading the cloth under foot - if your name is Walker, your ancestors probably did this work!

Jenny
Machine built by Highs, Hargreaves and others which features a discontinuous process of spinning. The yarn is first stretched against the twist, and then wound onto the spindle.

Jennygate
The gap between two sets of mules in a spinning room, allowing space for the in-and-out movement of the carriages. Known alternatively as the mulegate and the wheelgate.

Luddites
Machine breakers who wrecked looms and fired mills in protest at mechanisation and high food prices in 1812.

Mule
Crompton's hybrid spinning machine which combined the discontinuous drafting action of the jenny with the drafting rollers of the water frame.

Pick
Single length of weft in a piece of woven material. Used as a measure of the fineness of a material so, for instance, calico of 64 picks would contain 64 weft threads to the inch.

Pirn
Type of yarn package designed for the shuttles of automatic looms.

Plug Plot
Cotton workers' strike of 1842, when militants marched from town to town, withdrawing the plugs from mill boilers to render them inoperative.

Poor Law
Laws providing for the relief of poverty which gradually replaced charitable responsibilities from the 16th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 was an attempt to end the provision of relief in the community, forcing the needy and destitute into parish workhouses.

Riot Act
The British Parliament brought in the Riot Act in 1715 to prevent civil disorder. It imposed on magistrates the duty of attending the scene of a riot or potential riot in order to read the act.

Roving
The rope of parallel but lightly-twisted fibres from which cotton is spun.

Self-acting mule
Advanced version of Crompton'smule, automatic instead of manual, designed to allow operation by unskilled workers. The invention, by Richard Roberts, was a response by the manufacturers to the repeal of the anti-union Combination Laws in 1824.

Sliver
The thick, untwisted rope of fibre produced by the carding engine.

Slubbing
Intermediate stage between sliver and roving, with some twist imparted to the rope.

Starvationer
Type of narrow boat used on the Duke of Bridgewater's canal and underground waterways, so called because of the distinctive, ribbed construction.

Steam engine
Machine for turning heat into power by means of steam. Heat applied to a boiler expands water into steam, which is directed into a cylinder where it acts upon a piston. Newcomen (1712) produced the first practical engine for draining mines, Watt (1769) introduced major improvements, including a separate condenser and rotary motion, while Trevithick (1801) introduced the high pressure engine that led to the locomotive.

Teaser
A drum covered in teasels, or thistles of a type found in Somerset, designed to raise the nap of cloth passed over it, making the material suitable for blankets.

Tenter
Hook on which bleached material would be left to dry - hence, 'Left on tenterhooks.'

Throstle
An improved version of the water frame, it produced strong, well-twisted yarn for warp threads.

Truck Acts
The rise of manufacturing industry saw many company owners cashing in on their workers by paying them in full or in part with tokens, rather than coin of the realm. These tokens were exchangeable for goods at the company store, often at highly-inflated prices. The Truck Act of 1831 made this practice illegal in many trades, and the law was extended to cover nearly all manual workers in 1887.

Warp
Threads that run lengthwise in a piece of material, through which the crosswise, weft threads are woven.

Water frame
Spinning machine probably invented by Thomas Highs, but in fact patented by Arkwright which used the twisting mechanism of the Saxony handwheel with drafting rollers. So called because the machines were originally driven by waterwheel.

Weaving
Method of making fabric by interlacing threads. Plain weave is a simple, over-under construction giving a flat, even texture, while patterned weaves such as twill and herringbone are obtained by differential raising of warp threads on the loom.

Weft
See warp. The weft thread ss that contained in the shuttle of a loom.

Workhouse
Building where the poor who were unable to support themselves were housed and made to work if able. The 1723 Workhouse Act stopped relief being given to the able-bodied who refused to enter the workhouse.

Yeomanry
Militia usually led by members of local hierarchy with ranks often composed of tradesmen and shopkeepers.