india manufacture cottons machine time spinning country period supply found
COTTON, an indigenous product of all intertropical. regions, consists of the down or fine cellular hair attached to the seeds of plants belonging to the genus Cossypium, natural order Halvacece. The plants which supply the raw material for one of our greatest industries, and for the clothing of all nations, may claim to be ranked amongst the most valuable of nature's productions. The genus has occasioned no small deg Tee of perplexity species of Gossypium, an estimate which by some subsehad seen cultivated in Italy, led him to the conclusion that there were seven species of cotton only, the rest being merely varieties. These are : - Gossypium arboreutn, Linn., found in Ceylon, the Moluccas, Arabia, Senegal, &c.
W. herbaceum, Linn., growing in Siam, China, India, Italy, he.
G. sandwiehense, Parl., indigenous to the Sandwich Islandg.
G. hirsutanz, Linn., including Siamese, Bourbon, Upland Georgia, and Louisiana cottons.
G. taldtense, cottons from the Society Islands, Tahiti, Sze., in the Pacific.
G. religiosuni, Linn., including Peruvian and other cottons, principally with seeds in adherent files.
Some authorities have enumerated ten species, and the cultivators of cotton have been still more extravagant in the multiplication of species or varieties. Not regarding the effects produced by soil, climate, or culture, they have given new or provincial names to the different sorts of the same species, and have invented a nomenclature which has only produced additional confusion. In Dr Royle's exhaustive work entitled The Culture of Cotton in India the reader will find a trustworthy source of information upon the botanical part of the subject.
The cottons of the New and those of the Old World constitute the two great typical divisions of the kinds most nical characteristics, though slight, are sufficiently marked to prevent the one being mistaken for the other, - the seed of the Eastern plant is never black or naked, and the curvature at the base of the leaf lobes is compounded of two opposite curves, and not purely heart-shaped as in the case of the Western plant. Numerous varieties of each type are to be found constituting distinct races of the same species, and affording ample scope for experimenters in their efforts for the improvement of the plant.
Oriental, Asiatic, or Indian Cottons. - All these, although the several varieties may be distinguished from one another, belong to the species designated by Linmus Gossypium. herbaceum. There is one exception, however, to be made, and that is the singular purple-blossomed cotton-tree, the Gossypiunz arboreum, Linn., held sacred by the Hindus, known also as Gossypinnt religiosum, grown about the temples in India, which supplies the material for the sacerdotal tripartite thread of the Brahmans, the emblem of their Trinity. The plant has dark-green leaves, bears handsome red-purple blossoms, and produces silky cotton. Attempts have been made to improve its cultivation by hybridizing, and to bring it into general use, but hitherto without success, and it remains almost entirely unknown to commerce. With the exception, then, of this curious species, the numerous varieties of Indian cottons are but different forms of Gossypima herbaceum. One of these is cultivated to a considerable extent in the Levant, and is known in the market as Smyrna cotton. The different kinds of Indian cotton are usually included in the generic term Sprats. The principal sorts are IIingunghdt, Oonzrauuttee, Broach, Dhollera, and Dharwar. The Hingunglifit, which may perhaps be said to possess the highest qualities, stands at the head of the different descriptions grown in the Central Provinces and the Berars. The staple is of moderate length and strength, white, soft, and silky, and well adapted for spinning. Dharwar, in the southern part of the Bombay Presidency, is the only district in India where exotic cotton has been successfully cultivated the variety grown is chiefly acclimatized American cotton, from seed of the New Orleans species, Gossypiunt hirsutvm. In the North-Western Provinces, Assam, and other parts of India, various kinds of cotton are grown, but none of them is of so much importance to the manufacturer as any of those already enumerated. The cottons produced in China and Central Asia also belong to the same species, but little or no supply is furnished for export to other countries.
The Occidental or American Cottons. - These, which have become known to the civilized world only since the discovery of America, consist of two great divisions - the Barbadensian or black-seeded cottons, bearing pure yellow blossoms, with a reddish-purple spot at the base of the petals, and the Hirsute or hairy cotton, more or less covered with a distinct clothing of hairs, bearing white or faintly primrose-coloured blossoms. The two cannot always be distinguished from each other by the appearance of the seed, as the black-seeded cottons are occasionally found with a tuft of short hairs or fuzz at one or both ends, and the hairy, though generally downy all over, are also sometimes found with seeds black or naked. On this account some authorities have concluded that the two kinds belong to the same species - the Barbadensian but carefully conducted experiments show that the variation in the seeds may be attributed to peculiarities of soil or cultivation, and that the specific characteristics of the two kinds remain unaltered generation after generation The cottons most in demand among manufacturers are those of the Western world, viz., the Sea Island and New Orleans or Uplands, varieties which are altogether unequalled by the products of any other part of the globe. The Sea Island plant in the soft maritime climate of the low-lying islands off the coast of Georgia, where frost is scarcely known, has surpassed all other descriptions of cotton in the strength, length, and beauty of its staple. The " Georgian Uplands" cotton, sometimes celled "Boweds," is the result of attempts to cultivate Sea Island cotton on the uplands of Georgia. Sea Island cotton has also been successfully introduced into Queensland, the Fiji Islands, Tahiti, and Egypt. Of the other great Western cotton, the New Orleans, which is probably of Mexican origin, there are two principal varieties - one with green seeds and hardy constitution, the other with white, tawny, or greyish seeds, longer and more silky in staple. The New Orleans and Boweds cottons constitute the great production of the United States, and are known in English and European markets as " American cottons." The sowing time is March and April, and the crop is gathered from August to the end of the year, or even later in the absence of frost. There are several forms of this Hirsute or Orleans type, such as the Cuba Vine, a large and showy plant, another bearing yellow or brown stapled cotton used for nankeen cloths, and a third kind, producing the " Bourbon " cotton; but all these are more remarkable than useful. The fine Venezuela and the Wrest Indian green-seeded cottons belong to the same race, the latter differing only by a faint blotch of purple at the base of the pale yellow petals. The black-seeded, long-stapled cottons (G. barbadense), though of the Sea Island type, are found in such diversified forms, and so widely spread over the different parts of the globe, that some of them have been classed as separate species. The Peruvian and the Brazilian may be adduced as instances ; the latter, known by the name of " kidney" cotton, is remarkable for the curious arrangement of its seeds, eight or ten of which adhere together in compact kidney-shaped masses, but there is little else to distinguish it from other forms of black or naked seeded cottons. The various black-seeded cottons cultivated in Brazil, together with the Peruvian and some other descriptions, constitute the Gossypium acuminatu2n of Boyle. Colonel Trevor Clarke has made the cotton plant his special study with a view to its improvement by hybridization, and it is to be hoped that ere long he may be induced to publish the results of his investigations.
Cotton Ginning. - The lobes in every boll of cotton contain seeds which, except when covered with down, resemble the coffee-berry, and which have to be separated from the fibre, by a process called "ginning." When this is done there remains of the bulk, as gathered from the tree, about one-third of clean cotton fit for manufacturing purposes, and two-thirds of seed. The separation of the seed from the lint is accomplished by different methods. The most primitive as well as the most rude and simple machine employed is the churka used by the Chinese and Hindus, and known in Italy under the name of manganello. It consists of two wooden rollers fixed in a frame and revolving in contact, between which the cotton is drawn to the exclusion of the seeds. Though various attempts have been made to increase the efficiency of the churka, which is still extensively used in India, there has been but little real improvement, and it is found impossible to clean cotton rapidly by means of it. Hence ginning establishments with machines worked by steam power have now introduced ntroduced into the principal cotton districts of India. In the year 1792 Eli Whitney, an American, produced his saw gin, the machine which, under various modifications, is still employed for cleaning the greater proportion of the cotton grown in the Southern States. It consists of a series of saws revolving between the interstices of an iron bed upon which the cotton is placed so as to he drawn through whilst the seeds are left behind. As the fibre of the long-stapled cottons was found to be injured by the action of the saws, and to be more or less cut or " nepped," another more recent American invention, the Macartliy gin, has come into use for cleaning Sea Island, Egyptian, and Brazilian cotton. The fibre is drawn by a leather roller between a metal-plate called the "doctor," fixed tangential to the roller, and a blade called the beater, which moves up and down in a plane immediately behind and parallel to the fixed plate. As the cotton is drawn through by the roller the seeds are forced out by the action of the movable blade, which in some machines is made to work horizontally instead of vertically. Attempts continue to be made so to improve both the saw gin and the roller gin as in the one case to prevent injury to the staple, and in the other to increase the efficiency or capability of the machine to clean large quantities of cotton quickly. The "needle " saw gin is a recent invention intended to prevent the fibre from being cut. It consists of steel-wire set in block tin with the bottom of the teeth rounded or made smooth. On the other hand the double-action Macarthy gin, with two movable blades or beaters, the " knife-roller " gin, the " lock-jaw " gin, and others have appeared as rivals to the saw gin. The machine which will clean the largest quantity in the shortest space of time is naturally preferred, unless such injury is occasioned as materially to diminish the market value of the cotton; This has sometimes been the case to the extent of ld. or 2d. per lb, and even more as regards Sea Island or long-stapled cottons. The production, therefore, of the most perfect and efficient cotton-cleaning machinery is of importance alike to the planter and the manufacturer, and although considerable improve meat has already been effected, there is still room for further efforts in the same direction. The seed obtained in ginning that is not required for sowing, comprising many thousands of tons, is pressed for oil, which when refined is in some cases used to mix with olive oil, or is converted into cake for feeding cattle, or into a material for making paper, whilst the ultimate residuum, or refuse, is made into soap. Even the stalks of the cotton plant are made to answer some valuable purposes. Besides being usedfor thatch and baskets, a fibre is obtained that can be converted into gunny and other kinds of cloths, equal to those manufactured from jute. They furnish also a material that can be used for the manufacture of the common kinds of paper. The cotton when cleaned or separ ated from the seed is pressed, chiefly by hydraulic power, into bales varying in weight in different countries, and in this state it is ready for market and for the various pro cesses of manufacture.
Cotton Supply. - The capability of the world to furnish in sufficient abundance the raw material required by the vast and ever-expanding cotton industry has from time to time, and under the pressure of dire necessity, been well ascertained. Happily it has been found possible to cultivate cotton over almost the whole of the intertropical and in many of the temperate portions of the globe, so that if from any cause there should be a deficiency in one part this may be compensated by the superabundance in others. The most ancient cotton-growing country is probably India. For five centuries before the Christian era cotton was largely used in the domestic manufactures of India ; and the clothing of the inhabitants then consisted, as now, chiefly of garments made from this vegetable product. More than two thousand years before Europe or England had conceived the idea of applying modern industry to the manufacture of cotton, India had matured a system of hand-spinning, weaving, and dyeing which during that vast period received no recorded improvement. The people, though remarkable for their intelligence whilst Europe was in a state of barbarism, made no approximation to the mechanical operations of modern times, nor was the cultivation of cotton either improved or considerably extended. Possessing soil, climate, and apparently all the requisite elements from nature for the production of cotton to an almost boundless extent, and of a useful and acceptable quality, India for a long series of years did but little towards supplying the manufacturers of other countries with the raw material which they required. Between the years 1788 and 1850 numerous attempts were made by the East India Company to improve the cultivation and to increase the supply of cotton in India, and botanists and American planters were engaged for the purpose. One great object of their experiments was to introduce and acclimatize exotic cottons. Bourbon, New Orleans, Upland Georgia, Sea Island, Pernambuco, Egyptian, &c., were tried but with little permanent success. The result of these and similar attempts, more recently made, has been to establish the conclusion that efforts to improve the indigenous cottons are most likely to be rewarded with success. As will be seen from the table showing the imports of cotton into Great Britain, on a subsequent page, the largest supply obtained from India prior to the American civil war was in 1857, being upwards of 680,000 bales, of the value of £5,458,426 ; but in 1866, owing to the efforts employed to increase the production of cotton, the import from India had reached a total of 1,847,760 bales, of the value of £25,270,547. The quantity now obtained from India averages something over one million of bales annually, being the largest supply procured from any one country with the exception of America. The cultivation of cotton is not of so remote a date in China as in India. In the accounts of the revenues and of the arts of China during the period of the celebrated dynasty which commenced about 1100 years before the Christian era, and lasted for some centuries, no mention is made of the cotton plant ; nor, indeed, is there any notice of cotton in these records until about 200 years before the Christian era ; from which period to the 6th century the cotton cloth, which was either paid in tribute, or offered in presents to the emperors, is always mentioned as a thing rare and precious. The annals record as a singular circumstance that the Emperor Ou-ti, who ascended the throne in 502, had a robe of cotton. In the 7th century we find the cotton plant mentioned, but its cultivation appears to have been then confined to gardens ; and the poems and romances of that period are occupied in celebrating the beauty of its flowers. It was in the 11th century that the cotton plant was first removed from the gardens to the fields, and became an object of common culture ; and it is only from this period that we can date the commencement of the manufacture in China. The cotton tree was introduced into that country at the time of its conquest by the Mongol Tartars in the year 1280 ; after which period every encouragement was given by the Government to the culture and manufacture of cotton. Considerable difficulties, however, were at first encountered through the prejudices of the people and the opposition of those engaged in the manufacture of woollen and linen ; and it was not until the year 1368 that they were altogether surmounted. After that date rapid progress was made, and cotton has ever since supplied the material manufactured for the clothu g of a large proportion of the population of China. The Chinese, in addition to their own growth of cotton, obtain large imports from India and the Burmese territories. A famine which happened in China about the close of the 18th century induced the Government to direct, by an imperial edict, that a greater portion of the land should be devoted to the cultivation of grain. Since then the importation of cotton from India has been considerable, though but a small part of that which is consumed in their manufactures. China, indeed, was never a source of supply to other countries, excepting to a small extent and for a brief period, when the whole world was ransacked to meet the exigencies of the cotton famine.
Central and South America and the West Indies, though C now but comparatively insignificant sources of supply, .A were formerly of much greater importance. On the conquest of Mexico, in 1519, it is said that Cortes received garments of cotton as presents from the natives of Yucatan, as well as cotton cloths for coverings to his huts ; and the clothing of the Mexicans was found to consist chiefly of cotton. In Peru raw cotton and cotton fabrics have long been known to exist, and specimens from the ancient Peruvian tombs were at an early period brought to Europe for exhibition. In the time of the Incas, in 1532, there is evidence that the plant was successfully cultivated ; and the tree-cotton of Peru has often attracted attention, and been made the subject of examination for the purpose of determining whether it is the veritable Gossypium arboreum of Linnmus. It is represented to be not only exceedingly beautiful, but valuable on account of its abundant crops. It yields largely for four or five years, and may be maintained for eight or ten years without being renewed. The Gossypiion peruviaition or acuminatin, cultivated in the coast valleys of Peru, is an arborescent kind growing to 10 or 15 feet in height. It produces the cotton of Brazil, Pernambuco, Maranhao, Peru, &.,c. The Anguilla cotton, better known as Sea Island, is represented. to be a native of Honduras; it spread thence to the West Indies, and was carried to the United States shortly after the revolution. The West Indies, before the present century, was the chief source from which England derived the cotton then required. The finest ever brought to the English market, or probably ever grown, was raised in the island of Tobago between the years 1789 and 1792 upon the estate of Mr Robley. The West Indian cottons have generally been highly esteemed, but the cultivation has been neglected for the sake of sugar, which was found to be a more profitable crop.
Amongst the countries which in more recent times I have become prominent for the supply of cotton, Egypt deserves to be specially mentioned, furnishing a staple which for quality and length holds a high rank and comes next to Sea Island. Cotton was doubtless grown in Egypt at a very remote period, but was cultivated only to a small extent, and chiefly for home consumption, before the early part of the present century, when the inferior indigenous was superseded by the present exotic plant, the produce of which has obtained a high reputation. Its introduction was due to Mello Bey, who had been governor of Dongola, and Sennaar, and had brought seed of the plant with him from Ethiopia. In his garden at Cairo it was discovered about the year 1820, by a Frenchman named Jumel, in the service of Mehemet Ali. That sagacious ruler saw the advantages likely to accrue from the cultivation of a product suited to the soil and climate of the country, and which was in great and growing demand. His measures were carried out with such energy, and upon such a scale, as to enable him so early as 1823 to export to England 5623 bales of this new description of cotton. Jumel, who had resided for some years in America, and had some acquaintance with cotton, after seine not very satisfactory first essays in cotton-growing, associated himself with a Cairo merchant, and commenced a small plantation near the obelisk of Heliopolis. His efforts proving highly successful, he was at length entrusted with the control of the viceroy's cotton plantations, which became immensely profitable under his direction. The new description of Egyptian cotton has since been known by the name " Jumel" in France, and "Mahe," or "Mako," in England. Its cultivation has rapidly extended throughout Lower Egypt, the soil as well as the climate being found to be specially favourable. The scantiness of the population, and the difficulty of providing adequate supplies of food, seem the only causes likely to curtail the production of cotton. The thickly populated inverted alluvial delta of the Soudan, between the Blue and the White Nile, is said.to be even more favourable to the growth of cotton than the lower parts of the valley, and to afford room for the plantation of ten times the area obtainable in Egypt proper. It is not, perhaps, too much to say that Egypt is the finest cotton-growing country in the world ; it is not surpassed in productiveness even by the Southern States of America. So firmly is the growth of cotton established, and so fully are both the Government and the people alive to its importance and advantages, that there is no reason to apprehend that it will be allowed to decline, or that Egypt will ever lose its position as a source of supply. It will be seen from the table of imports on page 486 that the Egyptian supply, which in 1859-60 was only about 100,000 bales, has since become nearly 300,000. The bales, too, have been increasing in size, and now contain six cantars, or about 600 lb each.' The growth of cotton in Turkey, as 31sewhere, was greatly stimulated and increased during the time of scarcity, but it has since declined largely on account of the feebleness of the Government and the corruption of its agents, and the expectations once entertained have not been fulfilled. The country possesses, however, splendid cotton-growing capabilities, and might be made a very prolific source of supply. Much of the cotton produced is taken by Continental manufacturers. From Brazil cotton of excellent quality has long been obtained, and in various provinces of that vast empire its cultivation has for many years been a favourite and profitable branch of agriculture. The plant thrives in all the varied climates from Para in the north down to Rio Grande in the south, and requires scarcely any care to guard it either from sun or frost. Owing to the demands occasioned by the cotton famine, cotton was for the first time grown for export in the province of Sao Paulo ; and the experiments commenced in 1861, with some New Orleans seed sent out from England by the Cotton Supply Association, and freely distributed, became the means of procuring from this one province a quantity as large as had been received from the whole of Brazil in any year previous to the American civil war. This cotton, known as " Santos " in the market, has been steadily growing in favour with the manufacturer. The rank which Brazil holds amongst the countries from which cotton is imported may be ascertained by reference to the table already mentioned. From several other sources, such as Italy, the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, and other parts of Africa, Queensland, Australia, Fiji, Tahiti, &c., smaller supplies of cotton are obtained, but they are all of minor importance.
These and all others, whether large or small, dwindle into insignificance when compared with America, which is par excellence the great cotton-producing country of the world. About the year 17702 the planters in the Southern States of the American Union began to turn their attention to the production of cotton ; and besides carrying the cultivation to a great extent, they introduced qualities before unknown. The supplies continued to be small up to the end of the century. In 1792 the quantity exported from the United States was only 138,324 113, but by the year 1800 it had increased to nearly 18,000,000 lb. At the close of the war in 1815 the revival of trade led to an increased demand, and the progress of cotton cultivation in America became rapid and continuous, until at length about 85 per cent. of the raw material used by English manufacturers was derived from this one source. With a capacity for the production of cotton almost boundless, the crop which was so insignificant when the century began had in 1860 reached the enormous extent of 4,824,000 bales. This great source of supply, when apparently most abundant and secure, was shortly after suddenly cut off, and thousands were for a time deprived of employment and the means of subsistence. In this period of destitution the cottonzgrowing resources of every part of the globe were tested to the utmost ; a•:c1 in the exhibition of 1862 the representatives of every country from which supplies might be expected met to concert measures for obtaining all that was wanted without the aid of America. The colonies and dependencies of Great Britain, including India, seemed well able to grow all the cotton that could be required, whilst numerous other countries were ready to afford their co-operation. A powerful stimulus was thus given to the growth of cotton in all directions ; a degree of activity and enterprise never witnessed before was seen in India, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Africa, the West Indies, Queensland, New South Wales, Peru, Brazil, and in short wherever cotton could be produced ; and there seemed no room to doubt that in a short time there would be abundant supplies independently of America. But ten years afterwards, in the exhibition of 1872, which was specially devoted to cotton, a few only of the thirty-jive countries which had sent their samples in 1862 again appeared, and these for the most part only to bear witness to disappointment and failure. America had re-entered the field of competition, and was rapidly gaining ground so as to be able to bid defiance to the world. True, the supply from India had been more than doubled, the adulteration once so rife had been checked, and the improved quality and value of the cotton had been fully acknowledged, but still the superiority of the produce of the United States was proved beyond all dispute, and American cotton was again king. Slave labour has disappeared, and under new and more promising auspices a fresh career of progress has been commenced. With a rare combination of facilities and advantages, made available with remarkable skill and enterprise, the production of cotton in America seems likely for a long series of years to continue to increase in magnitude and importance.
Table I. (page 486) shows the quantity of the raw material annually furnished to English manufacturers during the past three-quarters of a century by the chief sources of supply. The table also contains a statement of the exports, the annual consumption, the average prices, and the stocks at the end of each year, as well as details of the American produce, exports, icc.
The statement embodied in Table II. (p. 487), issued under the authority of the Liverpool Cotton Brokers' Association, shows the total American crop (including Sea Island produce), the stock in the ports, and the total supply from 1826-27 to 1875-76. Table III. gives the appropriation of the American crops.
The manufacture of cotton had its origin in the East, where the cotton plant is indigenous, and where the climate renders a light and absorbent fabric a suitable clothing for the people. It has in consequence been long established over every part of Asia, although it was only in India that the fabric was manufactured extensively with a view to foreign exchange.
Arrian mentions cotton cloth among the commodities which the Romans brought from India ; but the quantity imported by them was inconsiderable, from the preference which they gave to woollen clothing. The difference between ancient and moclern Indian imports appears to have arisen, not from any diversity in the nature of the goods produced in that country, but from variety in the tastes or in the wants of the nations with which it has traded.
The implements used by the Indians in the different processes of the cotton manufacture, from the cleaning of the wool to its conversion into the finest muslin, may be purchased for the value of a few shillings, and are of so rude and simple a construction as to be evidently the invention of a very early period. 'With the exception of the loom, none of them deserves the name of a machine, or displays the slightest mechanical ingenuity. They spin the yarn upon the distaff; and yet, with all the advantages which we in this country derive from machinery, we have only recently been able to equal, either in fineness or quality, the yarn which is produced by means of this primitive instrument. The well-managed use of the finger and thumb of the Indian spinner, patiently and carefully applied in the formation of the thread, and the moisture at the same time communicated to it, are found to have the effect of incorporating the fibres of the cotton more perfectly than can be accomplished by our most improved machines.
The loom is composed of a few sticks or reeds, which the Indian carries about with him, and puts up in the fields under the shade of a tree, or at the side of his cottage. He digs a hole large enough to contain his legs and the lower part of the "geeri " and fastens the balances to some convenient branch overhead. Two loops underneath tho ' geer' in which ho inserts his great toes, serve as treadles ; and he employs the shuttle, formed like a large netting needle, but of a length somewhat exceeding the breadth of the cloth, as " battoon," using it alternately to draw through the weft and strike it up. The reed is the only part of the weaving apparatus which approaches, in tho perfection of its construction, to the instruments we use. The loom has no beam, and the warp is laid out upon the ground the whole length of the piece of cloth. The weavers live entirely in villages, as they could not, if shut up in towns, work in this manner. - It is probable that the whole of the implements which have just been described existed as we now find them before the people of India were divided into castes. The transmission of the same employment from father to son (which is the invariable practice in India), while it has the effect of conveying unimpaired the knowledge acquired in any art, tends to check its farther advancement. To the same cause, however, which thus prevented improvement in India, is to be attributed that dexterity in his particular employment which the Indian artizan possesses. From the earliest age he learns to spin and weave under the direction of his father ; and having no hope or desire of advancement in any other line, he gains, through constant practice, that wonderful skill which may thus be considered almost as a family inheritance. To be able to manage his ill-constructed loom, even in the production of ordinary fabrics, he is obliged to acquire such a sleight of hand, that it is not surprising if, out of the multitude trained in this manner, a few should be found capable of producing those muslins which are said, when spread upon the grass, to appear like the gossamer web. From the superiority of these goods, and from their retaining the beauty of their appearance longer than European muslins, it has been supposed that the cotton of which they are made is of better quality than any known to the European manufacturers. This, however, is a mistake ; there is no cotton in India of a quality superior to the best Sea Islands.
As the largest country in the world producing cotton, it was reasonable to expect that India would also at an early period engage in its manufacture, and to such a degree of perfection was this branch of industry carried, that some of the fabrics produced have never been equalled, and have attained a world-wide celebrity. The kind of manufacture for which Manchester is famous bears a name which indicates its Eastern origin, and Calicut has supplied the designation o our English calico. Formerly the East India Company was in the habit of making a great part of its remittances in manufactures, and actually advanced, through its resident, the funds required to enable the workmen to produce the goods. The resident, when not engaged in providing goods for the Company's investment, was authorized to employ the weavers on his own account. This state of things, which was often attended with abuses, has disappeared, and for a long period British manufactured cottons have been largely imported into India. Common muslins were made in every village throughout the Peninsula. Orme says, "When not near the high road or a principal town, it is difficult to find a village in which every man, woman, and child is not employed in making a piece of cloth." The very fine muslins made at Dacca, and which were of such exquisite texture as to be poetically designated " webs of woven wind," were intended chiefly for the use of the potentates of the country, who kept agents to superintend the workmen employed in the manufacture; but since the assumption by Government of the territories of these Indian princes, the demand has fallen off, and a considerable part of the population have betaken themselves to the cultivation of indigo. The cotton from which the Dacca muslins are woven grows in a district of not more than forty miles in length by three in breadth, and in so limited a quantity as never to have become an article of commerce.1 Long cloths and fine pullicats were made in the Madras Presidency, coarse piece goods and pullicats in Surat, the finest calicoes at Masulipatam, and table-cloths of a superior quality at Patna.
The apprehension often expressed that the inhabitants of India, in possession of the raw material, would, by the introduction of machinery, and by their cheaper labour-and superior manual dexterity, be enabled some day to undersell us so as greatly to injure, if not to ruin, and put an end to the Indian demand for English manufactures, has to some extent been realized. The most important industry in the Bombay Presidency is now the manufacture of cotton cloth and yarn. Whilst this has always existed in nearly every village, it is only in recent years that steam spinning and weaving mills have been introduced. The. first factory was started in 1863 at Kurla, Bombay, and in 1874 the number had increased to thirteen in the town and island, employing 60,000 spindles and 848 looms. These, together with other mills at Surat, Broach, and Ahmedabad, with an aggregate of 405,000 spindles and 4500 looms, had furnished employment for 10,000 people. Since then the number has been still further increased both in Bombay and other parts of the country, as well as in the presidencies of Bengal and Madras, and in some of the native states. It is probable that at present there are nearly 1,250,000 spindles and upwards of 10,000 looms employed in the various mills scattered over different parts of the country. Encouraged by the protective import duty on foreign manufactures, the number of mills is constantly on the increase, and the English trade in certain heavy and coarse descriptions of goods has consequently sustained serious injury. The import duty on English manufactures has been repeatedly condemned by Government, and its abolition has been expressly promised, but it is still retained for the convenient season when the Indian treasury shall be able to dispense with this small source of revenue. Meanwhile new mills, supported to a large extent by English capital, and fitted with English machinery, such as that recently established at Nagpore, are constantly springing up, which will doubtless, under all changes, obtain a share of the trade of the country, and will not probably be seriously injured by the free importation of English manufactures. They have an advantage both in their proximity to the raw material and in the cheapness of native labour. The manufacture of cotton cloth has -long been diffused all over the Central Provinces, hand-looms may be found at work in every considerable village, and the agricultural and labouring classes have hitherto preferred the home manufactures to any other. The increase of foreign importations, however, has led to a growing taste for English piece-goods, and the productions of Indian mills have materially affected the local industry.
The cotton manufacture in China is of immense extent, and is carried on almost entirely for home consumption. Almost the only cotton goods exported from China are nankeens. Owing to greater encouragement on the part of the Government, and a less rigid adherence to ancient usages by the people, there has been considerable increase in native manufactures in China, and it will be seen from the table of exports that there has been a remarkable increase in the extent and value of English trade with that country during recent years. In this trade we have now to encounter American competition, which, however, is less formidable than it might be, on account of the protective policy of the United States.
In the interior of Africa, Clapperton and Landers found that cotton was not only grown but also spun and made into cloth. It would be interesting to know the methods which the natives have adopted, and from what source they obtained their acquaintance with the art of weaving. The settlers in Liberia appear to have established a communication across the country with Timbuctoo, and to have found there a market for cotton cloths. Increased commercial intercourse with the interior of Africa, and the opening up of markets there for British manufactures, are still obj ects to be earnestly pursued.
The manufacture of cotton goods in Europe is said to have been first attempted by the commercial states of Italy, before the discovery of the passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope. These enterprizing communities were the entrepots through which the cotton fabrics of India passed to the different markets of the West ; and being situated in the neighbourhood of countries where cotton was grown, and familiar with manufacturing processes, it is supposed that they were led to attempt the imitation of articles so much valued, and bringing so high a price. Another account assigns the introduction of the cotton manufacture into Europe to a later date, and gives to the people of the Low Countries the honour of having been the first manufacturers of these articles, in imitation of the cotton fabrics which the Dutch, about the beginning of the 17th century, began to import from India. But this last account cannot be correct ; for Guicciardini in 1560, in a very full list which he gives of the different articles annually imported into and exported from Antwerp,1 then the greatest commercial mart in Europe, specifies fustians and dimities of many fine sorts among the manufactured articles imported from Milan, and mentions cottons generally among those brought from Venice. But in the articles exported from Antwerp, although we find linens sent to almost every country, cotton cloth is not once mentioned. Italy, therefore, at that time had a cotton manufacture, which, it is probable, soon after made its way to the Netherlands ; for we know it was brought from the latter country to Britain by Protestant refugees about the close of the 16th or early in the 17th century.
That this manufacture was carried on in England at a pretty early period of the 17th century we know on good authority. Lewis Roberts, in his Treasures of Traffic, published in the year 1641, says, " The town of Manchester buys linen yarn from the Irish in great quantity, and weaving it, returns the same again in linen into Ireland to sell. Neither does her industry rest here ; for they buy cotton wool in London that comes from Cyprus and Smyrna, and work the same into f ustians, vermilions, and dimities, which they return to London, where they are sold, and from thence not seldom are sent into such foreign parts, where the first material may be more easily had for that manufacture." These goods were woven chiefly about Bolton, and were purchased there at the weekly market by the Manchester dealers, who afterwards finished them, and either sent them to London for export, or sold them to their customers over the country.
At this period, and for a long time after, the weaver provided his own warp, which was of linen yarn, and the cotton wool for his weft ; but as much time was lost in seeking these materials, agents for their sale were established in the different villages by the Manchester purchasers. Each weaver's cottage formed a separate and independent little factory. The yarn for his warp was bought by him in a prepared state, the wool for his weft was carded and spun by the female part of his family, and the cloth was woven by himself and his sons.
It would be impossible to enumerate all the descriptions of cotton goods which, in succession, were brought forward from the commencement of the manufacture.2 The pattern cards of the principal houses in the trade, which were circulated from time to time through the kingdom, and over the continents of Europe and America, exhibited specimens of nearly two thousand kinds.
For the introduction and after improvement of many of these articles England is indebted to John Wilson of Ainsworth. This gentleman was originally a manufacturer of fustians at Manchester, but had early engaged in the manufacture of cotton velvets. His improvements in the mode of dressing, of finishing, and particularly of dyeing these goods acquired for them so high a character, that both in the home and foreign market his articles sold in preference to those of every other manufacturer. His plan for cleaning off the loose and uneven fibres was by the use of razors. He afterwards successively employed, for this end, singeing by spirits of wine and the application of a hot iron resembling a weaver's drying iron. At a later period he effected his object by drawing the goods rapidly over a cylinder of cast-iron heated to redness, by which they were in a superior manner cleared of the down or pile which had been raised upon them in the various operations of weaving, washing, bleaching, or dyeing. Wilson, having a turn for chemical inquiries, investigated the different known processes of dyeing; and by the improvements he introduced in the application of them to his own manufacture, materially advanced that art. The many valuable improvements introduced by Wilson into the different processes connected with the cotton manufacture had the effect not only of establishing it more firmly, but of rapidly enlarging its extent.
A considerable share of the calico-printing business was transferred, about the year 1760, from London to Lancashire, in consequence of the cheaper accommodation for carrying on the work, and the lower wages of the workmen. A fall in prices thereupon took place, which produced an increased demand for calicoes. These goods were at that time made of linen warp and cotton weft, it having been found impracticable, before Sir Richard Arkwright's discovery, to spin cotton warp of sufficient strength.
At this period the dealers from Manchester, in place of buying fustians and calicoes from the weaver, as had been the practice before, began to furnish him with materials for the cloth, and to pay him a fixed price per piece for the work when executed. Along with the portion of linen warp, they gave him out a portion of cotton woo], which be was obliged to get spun into the weft he was to use. But so fast was the manufacture by this time outstripping the process of spinning, that it frequently happened that the sum which the master weaver was allowed by his employer was less than what he found himself obliged to pay to those whom he employed to spin it. He durst not, however, complain, much less abate the spinner's price, lest his looms should be unemployed. In this state of things, the further progress of the manufacture must have been stopped, if a more productive mode of spinning had not been discovered.
It has been said that the yarn produced at this time in England, by the one-thread wheel, the only spinning machine known, did not exceed in quantity what 50,000 spindles of our present machinery can yield. To have reared and trained hands sufficient to have doubled this quantity, had it been possible, must have been the work of a length of time, and the amount of the manufacture would still have been insignificant. A change in the system, therefore, had become indispensable ; and we find that different ingenious individuals had already begun to employ themselves in contriving a better mode of spinning.
When we contrast the splendid inventions connected with the cotton manufacture, which from this period burst forth in rapid succession, with the passive acquiescence in the use of imperfect machinery during the long period which preceded, we are apt to ascribe these improvements to the circumstance alone of a number of men of genius having at that moment arisen, and to forget that the ultimate cause existed in the times calling their energies into action.
Already, about the year 1750, the fly-shuttle had been invented by Kaye of Bury - one of the most important steps in the progress of the art of weaving ; and in the year 1760 improvements had begun to be made in the carding process.
James Hargreaves, a weaver at Stanhill, near Church, in Lancashire, an illiterate man, possessed of no great mechanical knowledge, had adapted the stock cards used in the woollen manufacture to the carding of cotton, and had besides greatly improved them. By his invention a person was able to do double the work, and with more ease than by hand carding. In the stock cards, one of the cards is fixed, whilst the other, being suspended by a cord over a pulley, is worked by the carder ; and in this way two or three cards can be applied to the same stock.
This contrivance was soon succeeded by the cylinder cards, or carding engine. It is not ascertained who was the inventor of this valuable machine, but it is known that the father of the late Sir Robert Peel was among the first who used it, and that, so early as 1762, he, with the assistance of Hargreaves, erected a carding engine with cylinders at Blackburn. This machine did not differ materially from that now iu use, except that it had no contrivance for detaching the cotton from the cards, an operation which was performed by women with hand cards.
There had been several unsuccessful attempts to improve the mode of spinning before 1767, when Hargreaves in- . vented the " Spinning Jenny," patented in 1770. The idea of this machine is said to have been suggested to him by seeing a common spinning wheel, which had been accidentally overturned, continue its motion while it lay on the ground. After several unsuccessful attempts to carry into execution the conception he had formed, he succeeded in producing a rudely-constructed "jenny" of eight spindles, turned by bands from a horizontal wheel. In it the eight rovings were passed between two pieces of wood laid horizontally the breadth of the machine ; and these, being grasped in the spinner's hand, and drawn out by him, formed the ravings into threads. The structure of this jenny was soon afterwards greatly improved, and it was at last brought to work as many as eighty spindles. This machine, although of limited powers when compared with the beautiful inventions which succeeded it, must be considered as the first and leading step in that progress of discovery which carried improvement into every branch of the manufacture. The jenny of Hargreaves was very similar in its mode of working to the present " hand twiner '' or mule-doubler, the spindles being mounted on a stationary carriage, and the "slide," or lock, receding from the spindles during the twisting of the threads, and returning to the spindle again during the winding on of the yarn. These hand twiners are being rapidly replaced by self-acting twiners; but the type of Hargreaves's remains substantially the same as at first. His principle of drawing the fibre is still in universal use for carded wool.
Hargreaves's invention occasioned great alarm among those who earned their subsistence by the old mode of spinning, and even produced popular commotion. A mob broke into his house and destroyed his machine ; and some time after, when a better knowledge of its advantages had begun to bring his spinning jenny into general use, the people rose a second time, and, scouring the country, broke to pieces every carding and spinning machine they could find. The jenny in a short time put an end to the spinning of cotton by the common wheel ; and the whole wefts used in the manufacture continued to be spun upon that machine, until the invention of the "mule jenny," by which it was in its turn superseded.
While Hargreaves was producing the common jenny, Arkwright was employed in contriving that wonderful piece of mechanism, the spinning frame, called first the water-frame, and afterwards the throstle, which, when put into motion, performs of itself the whole process of spinning, leaving to the workmen only the office of supplying the roving or prepared material, and of joining or piecing the thread when it breaks. See ARKWRIGHT, vol. ii. p. 540. On Arkwright's removal to Nottingham he obtained from Messrs Wright; bankers there, and afterwards from Mr Need of Nottingham and Strutt of Derby the assistance necessary to enable him to perfect his inventions and turn them to advantage, and in the year 1769 he obtained his patent for spinning with rollers. In 1772 his patent was contested, but a verdict was given in his favour, and his right to the exclusive use of the discovery remained afterwards undisturbed. Soon after his removal to Cromford, he followed up his first great discovery with other inventions for preparing the cotton for spinning, for which he took out another patent in the year 1775. But in 1781.
his right to this patent was disputed ; and judgment was finally given against him in November 1785, and the patent cancelled. Arkwright's inventions for preparing the cotton, which are sometimes spoken of as the most wonderful parts of the process of spinning, do not appear so striking as the first effort of his genius. Although only to have been conceived by an original and fertile mind, they are still but improved arrangements of a machine previously in use, or suitable adaptations of his own spinning machine. But the power of Arkwriglit's mind was perhaps marked by nothing more strongly than the judgment with which, although new to business, he conducted the great concerns to which his discovery gave rise, and the systematic order and arrangement which he introduced into every department of his extensive works. His plans of management were universally adopted by others; and after long experience, they have not yet in any material point been improved.
The principal machines used in cotton spinning:, taking them in the order in which they are employed, are the following : - The opener, scutcher and lap machine, carding engine, combing machine, drawing frame, slubbing frame, intermediate frame, and roving frame ; the throstle, the self-acting mule and hand mule, doubling frame, and mill doublers or twiners. The first two are employed in the process of cleaning the raw cotton, and separating its matted flocks. In the lap machine it is fashioned into flat folds; in the carding machine it is carded and further cleaned and the fibres straightened; and in the drawing frame it is formed into a loose rope the fibres of which are laid parallel. In the slubbing frame it is slightly twisted ; and in the intermediate and finishing frames it is still farther twisted, particularly in the higher numbers; but it is not yet yarn. The throstle frame is chiefly used for coarse warps ; whilst upon the self-acting and hand mules both coarse and fine yarns are spun.
The OPENER. - In this machine the raw cotton is spread uniformly on a feeding table ; from this it is taken by a pair of feeding rollers, and by them subjected to the action of a beater. The beater consists of a cylinder bearing at intervals four or six rows of projecting teeth. It is 18 inches in diameter over the teeth, with an average of 40 inches in width, and when in motion makes 1400 revolutions in a minute. By an ingenious contrivance a strong draught of air is made to play through the newly-opened cotton, carrying away the dust and other foreign particles which adhere to it. This machine is capable of opening up about 15,000 lb of cotton in 56 hours. The cotton is carried forward between two perforated zinc or wire cylinders connected with the draught, the cotton being taken from another pair of feed rollers and a beater with two or three blades, and from this beater the cotton passes through a second pair of perforated cylinders, from which it is taken off by a pair of rollers and delivered to calender rollers, and formed into laps for the scutcher. Various kinds of openers have been patented which differ in some regulate the supply of the cotton as to dispense with the necessity of weighing it, and make a more uniform lap.
The SCUTCHER, which has also a lap machine combined with it (fig. 4), in many respects resembles the opener.
In some cases it is fed with cotton in a loose fleece, and in others, instead of the loose cotton, three or four laps aro placed upon the feeder, and the beater or beaters are used in place of the cylinder. The cotton is further cleaned and carried forward in the same manner as in the opener making laps for the second or finishing scutcher, which is of similar construction to the first, the laps going from this machine to the carding engine.
The CARDING ENGINE (figs. 5 and 6) consists of one large or main cylinder covered with cards, a smaller one called the defer, and a still smaller one called the taker in. The main cylinder is surmounted with small ones, called rollers, covered in like manner with cards, by whose revolutions in opposite directions to those of the large cylinder, and with different velocities, the cotton is carded and pnF on the second cylinder or defer. In some cases the main cylinder is furnished with what are technically termed "flats," - a series of flat cards revolving to form an endless travelling lattice. The third cylinder, or taker in, which is really the first to act upon the cotton. is usually covered with a stronger wire ; it receives the cotton from a pair of feed-rollers, striking out the heavier part of tho dirt remaining from the scutching, and delivering the cotton to the main cylinder. The cotton is taken from the doffer in a very light fleece by means of a vibrating comb, and this fleece is drawn together into a funnel and a connecting cylinder called the homer, but in all other respects they resemble those already described. The cans with the slivers are next taken to the
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