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The Social and Industrial history of Scotland, from the Union to the present time
Nineteenth Century: 5. The Textile Industry


As previously noted, homespun cloth was made in the homes of the people throughout Seotland for centuries. In the course of time Waulk mills were established for the purpose of fulling the cloth, the process being done much better by beating wet, soapy cloth mechanically than by tramping it by the feet. Another stage in the process of woollen manufacture is marked by the substitution about the beginning of the nineteenth century for hand cards of machine cards driven by water power. To meet the growing demand for yarn, the hand mule was devised; the power loom gradually displaced the hand loom, and this revolution in the weaving industry reacted on the spinning industry and led to the evolution of the self-acting mule. It is on these and other improvements of machinery that the development of the textile industry rests, and though Scotland cannot claim their invention, its manufacturers have applied them with remarkable results, and some of them, like Mr Melrose of Hawick, who invented the piecing machine, and Mr Roberts, who started the first successful feeding machine or condenser in Scotland, have a share of the credit of them.

The famous tweed cloth derives its name from the inadvertent reading of tweed for "tweel " by the clerk of a London merchant in an invoice of goods, consigned by a Hawick manufacturer in 1826. By this happy mistake the name of the region, which has long been the centre of the industry, passed to the cloth manufactured in the towns on the Tweed and its tributaries. That the woollen manufacture should have taken a firm hold in this region is largely due to the fact that it rears a large number of sheep and thus provides a supply of wool, which in the earlier days of the industry was fairly adequate to the demand, though it has long ceased to be so. Jedburgh claims the distinction of being the first town to produce this cloth by the simple expedient of twisting together two or more woollen yarns of different colours. But Galashiels early took the leading place in the industry, with Hawick as a good second. From Galashiels Mr Henry Ballantyne transplanted it to Walkerburn, where there was a plentiful supply of water power and cheap land. Another motive for this extension was the fact that the Galashiels weavers were an independent set of men, working only from Tuesday or Wednesday to Saturday and drinking or fishing on Monday and sometimes even on Tuesday. The sons of Henry Ballantyne migrated to Innerleithen and later to Peebles, and now nearly the whole industry in the Tweed valley is controlled by his grandsons. Its rise in Selkirk was largely due to incomers from Galashiels during the "nineties."

The wool supply comes mostly from British Colonies and South America. It is prepared for the carding machine by machinery invented and improved for the purpose, by which it is scoured, dried, teased, and oiled. After carding it is spun into yarn, dyed, woven, fulled, stretched, cropped, and pressed into the finished article. This intricate process is accomplished by appliances which have long displaced the primitive methods of the days of the spinning wheel and the hand loom.

In the process of manufacture tweed retains the natural strength of the material unimpaired and does not sacrifice this quality to fineness of fabric or perfection of finish as in the case of English or Continental cloths. The best testimony to its excellence is the fact that the Scottish manufacturers have found many imitators in England and on the Continent and have had to face the competition of English made "Scotch tweeds." In the best qualities they, nevertheless, take the lead, and this imitation was adduced by the jurors of the Exhibition of 1862 as a proof of the supremacy of this department of Scottish industry. "To the Scotch manufacturers belongs the credit of having found out what the public like, and of having led for a considerable period the public taste. So largely have their productions been imitated on the Continent, that many of the choicest fancy trouserings of France and other countries are easily traceable in design and colouring to their Scotch origin."

The tweed manufacture dates from the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when the old Galashiels "tweds" (greys, blues, and drabs) gave place before the demand for a more varied cloth. Sir Walter Scott, when Sheriff of Selkirkshire, had done something to foster this demand by wearing a pair of trousers made of Scottish checked plaid, and the commercial collapse of 1829 induced the manufacturers to attempt a new departure in the woollen industry. In this year there were only fifteen sets of carding machinery in operation. Fully twenty years later, in 1851, the number had swelled to 225, while the number of factories was 72, operating 329 power looms and producing goods of an estimated value of 900,000. By 1869 there were 85 factories with 340 sets of carding machines, 2,720 power looms, giving employment to 13,600 persons, while the value of the cloth produced had risen to over two millions.

The industry had then and still has i*s centre in the Border towns—Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh, Earlston, Innerleithen, Selkirk, Peebles, Langholm—but it has extended to other places, such as Dumfries, Bannockburn, Pitlochry, Aberfeldy, Aberdeen, Inverness, Elgin, Keith. To Aberdeen belongs the distinction of possessing the largest tweed mill in Scotland—that of Messrs Crombie at Woodside, which gives employment to over 1,500 hands in the highest class coating trade. At several places where mills were established—Stirling, Cambusbarren, Menstrie, Kinross,—the industry has died out. Highland tweeds enjoy a well-merited reputation, and the industry still affords employment to the home worker in the Highlands and Islands, Harris tweeds being the favourite garb of the sportsman. Galashiels has maintained the leading position in the industry. In 1861 its population was about 6,000; in 1896 the total had grown to 19,000. In 1900 it had fallen, however, to 13,500, to rise again in 1911 to 15,000. The industry has thus its vicissitudes in accordance with the law of supply and demand, though it has on the whole been progressive. The same fluctuation is observable in the case of Hawick, which about 1890 almost rivalled its neighbour in production. Between 1895 and 1910, however, half its weaving mills were closed and more than half its spinning power disappeared. But, unlike Galashiels, it is not a " one trade town " and has developed valuable knitting and dyeing industries. The total of carding machines and power looms employed in the Border towns was about 300 and 3,000 respectively in any ordinary busy year previous to the war, with an output valued at 3,000,000.

Besides tweed the Scottish woollen industry embraces the manufacture of a large variety of woollen goods—yarns, flannels, blankets, hosiery, shawls, tartans, wincey, carpets, bonnets, etc. In addition to the towns mentioned in connection with the tweed manufacture, spinning or weaving mills for the production of these articles, or some of them, were established at Alloa, Tillicoultry, Alva, Edinburgh, Dalkeith, Bonnyrig, Roslin, Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock, Ayr, and several other places, where the industry has remained on a very limited scale or has died out. Hawick acquired the lead in the hosiery industry, and Hawick underwear has a world-wide reputation. From 400 to 500 Cotton patent frames, employing 3,500 workers, and each producing six garments at once, of the finest quality and texture for the most part, were at work in 1915. In carpet making the lead is still taken by Kilmarnock, with Glasgow, Paisley, Ayr, Bannock-burn, and Aberdeen as important competitors. At Edinburgh, on the other hand, the industry has almost become extinct, though patent tapestry was invented by Mr Richard Whytock, who in the earlier part of the nineteenth century occupied a leading position in the trade. About the same time Mr Newton of Kilmarnock invented the three-ply Scottish carpet and also improved the machinery for its manufacture. Another advance was made by Mr Templeton of Glasgow with the Patent Axminster, and to him belongs the additional merit of being a pioneer of artistic manufacture. He employed the best designers and the most capable workmen available, and he persevered in the face of old-fashioned prejudice till success, both artistic and commercial, was attained. One of his triumphs was the winning of one of the two gold medals awarded at the Paris Exhibition of 1808 to British carpet manufacturers. Brussels and Wilton were also introduced, and ere long came the Jacquard machine. To this development the Board of Manufactures rendered great service by fostering the inventive spirit by means of premiums.

Kilmarnock and its neighbourhood are also the centre of the bonnet making industry, and hosiery is extensively produced. Paisley was once famous for its shawls, in the making of which its hand loom weavers found at least a temporary remedy for the long years of depression that supervened on the Napoleonic wars, which forced many of them to emigrate. These products were remarkable for their artistic design and workmanship. "As craftsmen the Paisley weaver and his assistant 4 draw boy ' of these early days have never been equalled in textile skill." But their popularity passed with the change of fashion, and the intervention of Queen Victoria, who used her influence in 1842 in a well-meant attempt to revive it, was only temporarily successful. Hand loom weaving was doomed in the struggle with the power loom and the factory system, though the hand loom wea\ er lingered long in the district, and even yet he is employed in the making of certain fabrics.

In 1878 the total number of woollen factories in Scotland was 240, employing fully 22,500 workers of both sexes. In 1890 there were 85 spinning and 48 weaving factories, 118 in which both spinning and weaving were carried on, and 31 described as unenumerated, with a total of fully 31,000 employees. In addition there were 20 spinning and weaving factories engaged in the worsted trade and employing about 6,000 hands.

The industry has been greatly benefitted by the establishment of the South of Scotland Central Technical College at Galashiels which, under the direction of Dr Oliver, serves the purpose of a Woollen School for Scotland. It is the only institution in Great Britain devoted solely to instruction in the principles and practice of fancy woollen and worsted cloth manufacture, textile testing, fibre analysis, dyeing, colour, mechanics, physics, machine drawing, and in art, chemistry, and electricity as applied to the industry. Attached to it is accommodation for 00 hand looms for the use of the students in experimental weaving and designing, 6 power looms, warping, warp and weft winding, a set of woollen cards with the different feeds and condensers, mule, twisting frame, knitting machines, and smaller apparatus. The funds for the scheme were raised by public subscription supplemented by a grant of 10,000 from the Scottish Education Department.

In the first quarter of the nineteenth century the linen industry had its centre in the counties of Fife and Forfar. In 18227^116 last year in which the linen stamp law was in force, Forfarshire produced fully 22 million yards, Fifeshire nearly 8 million yards out of a total of 36^ millions for the whole of Scotland. Two other counties, Aberdeen and Perth, produced fully 4 millions of the remainder. The Board of Manufactures encouraged the industry by offering premiums for its improvement and up to 1832 by granting bounties to the manufacturers. In 1807, for instance, premiums were awarded for the best and second best samples of plain linen, diaper, shirting, etc., three of them going to Dunfermline and two to Edinburgh. Forfarshire owed its early preeminence in the industry also to the fact that its soil was specially well suited Ior the production of flax, and its spinners and weavers thus obtained a ready supply of the raw material which is now imported from foreign countries. Besides Dundee there are factories in all the considerable towns of the county, including Forfar, Brechin, Montrose, Arbroath, Kirriemuir. In 1822 there were already in Dundee and its neighbourhood 49 flax spinning mills driven by steam power. By the middle of the century the number had grown to nearly 40 in Dundee alone. The first power loom factory was erected by Messrs Baxter in 1836 and others followed ere long. The progress of the industry during the first half of the century may be gauged from the fact that the quantity of flax, hemp, and tow imported into Dundee rose from 2,187 tons in 1815 to 47,113 tons in 1853. The jute manufacture ere long displaced that of linen from first place, and in 1892 the imported flax and hemp had fallen to about 21',000 tons. In 1911 the total, including tow, was slightly below 20,000. Dundee, in addition, produces a large quantity of textile machinery valued at about 300,000 a year and giving employment to between 3,000 and 4,000 artisans. The cognate industries of bleaching, dyeing, and calendering are also extensive.

Arbroath owed the rise of its linen industry to the accidental discovery by one of its weavers of the Osnaburg linen cloth in 1738. The industry throve exceedingly and before the end of the century its weavers produced over a million yards of linen, besides sail-cloth of almost equal value. The introduction of spinning machinery in the beginning of the nineteenth greatly increased the output, and by 1832 there were 16 spinning mills in the town and neighbourhood. Ten years later several more had been added and the flax annually spun amounted to 7,000 tons. In 1875 the spinning and weaving mills numbered 34 with 40,000 spindles and fully 1,100 power looms, with a weekly output of almost 45,000 yards of linen. In 1907 the value of the flax imported was nearly 150,000.

Steam driven flax spinning machinery was first introduced in Ford's mill at Montrose in 1805, with George Stephenson, of subsequent locomotive fame, as engineman, and flax spinning has remained its chief industry, the value of the flax imported in 1906 being 207,000. From Montrose Forfar obtains a large part of the yarn for its weaving factories. Brechin has two spinning mills as well as five weaving factories for the manufacture of Osnaburgs, brown linens, and sailcloth. In the early part of the century the industry was so extensively carried on at Kirriemuir that it was second only to Dundee in production, and its output is still extensive. Hand loom weaving lingered long here, and one of these weavers, David Sands, acquired notability in the second half of the eighteenth century as the inventor of a mode of weaving double cloth for the use of staymakers, and for seamless shirts. The neighbouring Blairgowrie and Alyth, though in Perthshire, and Coupar-Angus, have also a considerable linen industry.

In Fife the industry is carried on at Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Dysart, Leslie, Leven, Auchtermuchty, Kingskettle, Ladybank, Stratlimiglo, Falkland, Cupar, Tayport, Newburgh, and several other places. The damask of Dunfermline is unequalled in design and finish and its artistic fame is traceable to Mr Joseph Paton, father of the celebrated painter. Its manufacture dates from the early part of the eighteenth century, when it was introduced by James Blake, who had learned the secret in a workshop at Drumsheugh, near Edinburgh, and started the first damask loom in his native town. Improvements in the damask loom were subsequently made by John Wilson and David Bonnar, and a great impulse was given to the industry by the introduction of the Jacquard machine in 1825. "The beautiful specimens of damask made in Dunfermline, Belfast, and other places," says Mr Warden in his History of the Linen Trade, "are now chiefly produced by the Jacquard machine, invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard, and first shown at the National Exhibition of . Industry, held at Paris in 1801. This very perfect, but simple machine was at first received with much bad feeling by the artisans of France, many machines having been destroyed and the inventor's life threatened. Its merits were too valuable and too apparent to be entirely kept back, even by such furious and frenzied opposition, and when it did emerge it revolutionised the trade. Previously figures, which could not be produced by combinations of twilling and colouring, were formed by the aid of the draw-boy, and such, or other appliances, or by the cumbrous and tedious modes known in tapestry work as high and loxv warp, but by neither mode were they so perfectly brought out as by this beautiful machine. . . . This machine is used in the manufacture of silk, cotton, woollen, and linen, and is alike suitable to all. Patterns of endless design and of wonderful beauty can be produced by it by the mere change of the cards passed over the surface of the perforated box, the particular pattern depending wholly on them. Improvements have from time to time been effected in this engine, and it has now been made so astonishingly perfect for the various fabrics for which it is adapted that it will be very difficult to supersede it by anything more suitable." By means of it designs are produced with the greatest distinctness of outline and delicacy of detail.

A growing demand for the Dunfermline product sprang up. William IV was the first of many royal customers, and Queen Victoria followed his example. For the famous "Crimean Hero Tablecloth," designed by Mr Balfour and representing the chief persons on the allied side associated with this war, the Queen gave an order, whilst another came from the Emperor Napoleon III. The ramifications of the Dunfermline trade extend over the world, America being the most extensive buyer. About the beginning of the nineteenth century there were over 1,000 hand looms at work. In 1836 the number had risen to about 3,500, giving employment to 5,000 persons. The advent of the power loom greatly increased the output and about thirty years later there were four power loom factories. In 1890 the number had risen to 10, employing about 6,000 persons, a large proportion of whom were women. "The business done in linen in Scotland," remarks Mr Steele in the Scottish Bankers Magazine, April 1912, "may be estimated at about 8,000,000 per annum and Dunfermline alone produces more than one-third of this amount."

Kirkcaldy was the first town in Scotland to introduce the power loom in 1821, and in the town and district over 3,000 persons are now employed in the industry. It is, however, more famous as the seat of the allied floorcloth and linoleum industry, which was started in Scotland by Mr Michael Nairn in 1847 and has attained such large dimensions that it has made the "lang toon " the rival of Dunfermline in size and affluence. Mr Nairn's experiment in the making of floorcloth seemed so unpromising at first that it was spoken of by his neighbours as "Nairn's Folly." But the venture ere long turned out a complete success as the result of the widespread demand for this serviceable and relatively cheap form of floor covering. Several other firms took up the manufacture, and in 1877 the Messrs Nairn added a linoleum factory to their floorcloth works on the expiry of the patent held by Mr Walton, the inventor of the process and the founder of the Linoleum Manufacturing Company at Staines, Middlesex. Other Kirkcaldy firms followed their example, and towards the end of the century these were amalgamated under the name of Barry, Ostlere, & Shepherd. Another, the Fife Linoleum Company, also engaged in the industry. In addition to these three at Kirkcaldy, three others were started at Tayport, Newburgh, and in the neighbourhood of Dundee. The employees at the three Kirkcaldy works number between 3,500 and 4,000.

Besides Forfar and Fife, in most districts, with the exception of Aberdeen and Perthshire, in which the linen industry was formerly carried on to a greater or less extent, it has either become extinct or shrunk to small dimensions—in Edinburgh, for instance, not to speak of towns like Inverness, Kinross, Inverary. A similar fate has overtaken it in the west—in Lanarkshire, Renfrew, and Ayr—where the making of linen cloth was superseded by the cotton manufacture. While it steadily rose in these counties till well into the second half of the eighteenth century, it showed an equally steady decline in the last decades of it and the early part of the nineteenth, till in 1822 they were each credited with only between 25,000 and 20,000 yards. In 1875 only 11 of the 159 linen factories in Scotland were situated in the west. In 1890 the number had fallen to 6, though Paisley was eminent in the linen thread manufacture. In the latter year the total for Scotland was 136, in which about 35,000 persons were employed, the large majority of whom were women.

The process of linen manufacture begins with heckling, for which machines were invented, and by which the fibres of the flax are sub-divided into filaments of a fineness suited to the quality of the cloth to be made. It is then sent through the dressing machine several times until it is formed into an even band an inch wide and a quarter of an inch thick. It is further drawn out in the roving machine, slightly twisted, and wound on large bobbins which are placed in the spinning machine and drawn out to the necessary degree of fineness and firmly twisted. The spinning is done by the wet or the dry process according to the purpose for which the yarn is destined. The full bobbins from the spinning frames pass into the hands of the reelers, who make the yarn into the required lengths. The yarn is generally bleached before being warped. After warping it is coated with paste, drawn through the heddles and the "reed," and placed in the weaving loom. From the looms the webs are passed through the rubbing machines, cropped, calendered, and pressed by machines adapted for the purpose.

Floorcloth is made from flax-tow and yarn in large looms, and the canvas is subjected to a complex process of sizing, painting, drying, and printing. Machinery for applying the paint and printing the pattern ultimately took the place of hand labour with very satisfactory results. In the making of linoleum the Walton process is applied in the "drying" of the linseed oil, i.e. the reduction of it to an elastic solid state. It next passes through the "cementing" process, by which the oil is mixed with proportions of kauri gum and resin and the preparation is cooked and, after being cooled, cut into slabs. The cork to be used with this cement is ground into powder varying in fineness according to the cloth to be made. The necessary proportions of cement, powder, and colouring are then mixed by machinery and the mixture passes between the calender rolls, where it is keyed on to a foundation of jute canvas. The reverse side of the cloth is then coated by the backing machine with a waterproof mixture, -and the linoleum thus produced is seasoned in the drying room where it is hung for from two to four weeks according to the thickness of the fabric. The finished article is known as plain linoleum. In the case of printed linoleum the pattern is applied when the plain cloth is about half seasoned. Inlaid linoleum differs from printed (in which the pattern is merely printed on the surface, and therefore liable to suffer from wear) in having the pattern carried right through the fabric. The most serviceable maans of effecting this is the machine invested by Mr Walton for this purpose.

Dundee is the centre of the allied jute manufacture. It took its origin in one of those periods of depression to which the linen industry has been subject. The depression was specially acute in the decade between 1830 and 1840, and it was in these years that Dundee manufacturers had recourse in tentative fashion to the spinning and weaving of jute. In 1822 Mr Neish, a merchant of the town, who had received a small consignment of the fibre from London, had unsuccessfully endeavoured to get the local spinners to give it a trial. Ten years later he received a second consignment and on this occasion he succeeded in persuading a firm of manufacturers to try the experiment. The initial difficulty was the unsuitableness of the machinery then in use for its manufacture. Another consisted in the dry and hard nature of the fibre. The former was overcome by the introduction of improved machinery, the latter by the expedient of moistening the fibre with oil. This is done in the " batching room," where the raw material is sprinkled with oil and water. The fibres are dissevered by appropriate machinery and then pass through the processes of spinning and weaving similar to those applicable in the case of flax. Jute is one of the most easily dyed fabrics, but it does not naturally retain the colour well. A complex process is, therefore, needful in order to make the dye lasting, and the better class of jute goods is so treated that the colours are both bright and durable.

The products of the industry consist of sheetings, sackings, carpets, rugs, and many other fabrics. For the finer goods a combination of flax and jute, or cotton and jute, or cocoa fibre and jute is used. The comparative cheapness of the raw material enabled the manufacturers to sell them at a moderate price and this, in conjunction with excellence of workmanship, has made Dundee the centre of a world-wide trade, to which the Crimean War and the American War, by adversely affecting the supply of flax from Russia and raw cotton from the Southern States, gave a great impulse. In spite of recurring periods of depression and the growing competition of India, whence most of the raw material is imported, Dundee has maintained its supremacy andi steadily increased its productton. It ha3justly merited the title of " Juteopolis," for its linen manufacture, which in a number of factories is combined with it, is modest in comparison with the staple industry. It is also carried on to a considerable extent in some of the other Forfarshire towns and at Perth, Aberdeen, Tayport, and Springfield, near Cupar. In 1838 the number of tons imported was 1,136; in 1858 it had grown to 30,000; in 1868 to over 58,000; in 1890 to 206,759. In 1911 the number was 201,000. Dundee and district have had little to fear from the competition of the West of Scotland, though attempts were made at Glasgow and elsewhere to secure its share of the industry. These, however, proved ultimate failures or have remained on a very limited scale. In 1890 the number of factories in Scotland was 103, and of these Glasgow was credited with only 2. The number of persons employed was over 40,000. Twenty years later the number had increased to about 68,000, the large proportion, as in the case of the linen manufacture, being women.

In the early years of the nineteenth century I the cotton industry had taken a firm hold in the west of Scotland, and the" west remained its centre. A recent writer on the geography of Renfrewshire ascribes the fact to climatic conditions. "A moist atmosphere," says Mr Mort, "is necessary for the manufacture of high-grade cotton goods, otherwise the material becomes brittle and difficult to work. Now the average rainfall of many parts of the west coast is double that of the east coast. Thus the west coast possesses the valuable attributes (at least for the cotton worker) of a high rainfall and a humid atmosphere, and therefore the industry, by a process of the survival of the fittest, has come to be localised in the west." The humid climate of Manchester accounts, in part at least, for its pre-eminence in the cotton industry. Other factors contributed, such as the facility with which workers could be obtained. Improvements in the machinery, which Englishmen had invented in the second half of the eighteenth century, were made by Scottish manufacturers. In 1797 Mr Kelly of the New Lanark Mills produced a self-acting mule, and Mr Buchanan of the Catrine Mills also busied himself with the problem about the

same time and, in co-operation with his nephew, Mr Deanston, completed his invention in 1826. It was afterwards improved by Mr Robertson, a foreman in the Crofthead Mill in Renfrewshire, in conjunction with Mr Smith, who also improved the carding machine. With the self-acting spinning mule came the power loom which immensely increased the output of the cotton factories. The fabrics included plain calico, muslins, curtains, ginghams, pullicates; but the making of muslin became the speciality of the industry. The pioneer of this speciality was Mr James Monteith, who about 1780 warped the first muslin web attempted in Scotland, and successfully imitated the fabrics of Dacca and other Indian industrial centres.

In 1834 the number of cotton mills in Scotland had swelle to 134, compared with 19 in 1787. Aberdeen had some large factories, but the vast majority were located in Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire—74 in the former and 41 in the latter. In 1850 1 the number in these counties was 145. Ten years later the figures were about the same. In 1890 there was a drop to 114, the total for Scotland being 124, employing about 36,000 persons, of whom the large majority were women. Since then the decline has gone on increasing. This shrinkage has been due to the competition of Lancashire and Yorkshire with their enormous output, their more economical production, and their adoption of more up-to-date machinery. In this respect Scottish enterprise has lagged behind that of England, and the vast industrial development of the west in other directions has provided other avenues for capital and labour. That the Scottish manufacturers might have forestalled this regrettable decline is proved by the fact that the Glasgow Cotton Spinning Company has developed a large trade, and has shown itself capable of meeting its Lancashire rivals. In one branch, however—that of cotton thread spinning—Paisley has maintained the leading position, and practically controls the thread export trade. The development of this trade is largely due to Mr Patrick Clark, the founder of the firm of Clark & Co., and to Mr James Coats, the founder of that of J. & P. Coats. Both firms have established works in America and other countries. In 1890 the Messrs Coats became a public company, with control of the business of Messrs

Clark, with an authorised capital of 5f million^ which was subsequently increased to 10 millions, whose marketable value in 1913 was estimated at close on 56 millions. The mills at Paisley cover about 100 acres, and give employment to over 10,000 persons. " Half a million spindles are driven by engines of 30,000 h.p., which require the daily consumption of something like 400 tons of coal, and 15,000 tons of wood are used annually in the manufacture of about 250 millions of spools. The demand for spool wood at one time practically threatened the deforestation of various parts of Scotland, but the supply is now chiefly obtained from Northern Europe and North America. . . . The machines used in the making of the thread are of the latest type, and are wonderful in their accuracy. The doubling machine is so adjusted that it ceases to operate when one of the-ends breaks or is missing, whilst the testing and measuring of the thread is carried out with the greatest exactness. The revolutions of the spindles require also to be finely judged, as a proper speed when the bobbin is empty becomes much too great when it is almost full, and it is therefore necessary to confine the speed of the spindles to a velocity which will not be excessive when the winding is almost complete. Thirty years ago the spindles made 3000 revolutions per minute, but they now make about 10,000, while the space occupied is less."

Not far off, at Kilbowie, on the north side of the Clyde, is the greatest sewing machine factory in the world, that of the Singer Manufacturing Company. The works, removed here from Bridgeton, Glasgow, in 1884, cover 46 acres, employ 6,000 persons, and turn out 13,000 machines per week, of which over 700 classes and varieties are catalogued. The sales in Great Britain and Ireland amount to about 200,000 a year. The sewing machine, it has been aptly said, has been the making of the thread industry. Renfrewshire has also maintained a considerable industry in the making of the lighter silk fabrics, such as gauzes, gossamers, chiffons, handkerchiefs, and ties, though the output is a stationary one. Mention should also be made of the Glasgow Weaving College, which dates from 1877, and provides a technical training in textile manufacture for workmen and designers.

In 1890 the total number of textile factories in Scotland was 747, and of persons employed in these industries 154,591, whom more than two-thirds were women.


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