Posted by Captain Everett on February 05, 1998 at 00:36:22:
In response to I forgot to mention...., written by gkb on February 04, 1998 at 10:09:46
] .... the silk workers in Chinese factories were mostly women who seemed to revel in the freedom from the farm....
Silk workers in England faced the same pressures as did those in the other textile trades. This might be off topic, but I find it an interesting side light to the "proper" life familiar to JA,t al.
Silk spinning was mechanized in the early 18C, the first to do so. Like cotton, there was the same use of young women and children to tend the machinery. These "Throwing Mills" in turn supplied the hand weavers, usually a small master employing his family or a few journeymen, and selling the finished product to mercers or drapers. Apprenticeships, which included both sexes, usually lasted seven years.
The workers faced pressure from less scrupulous masters and suppliers to drive down wages. Attempts to legislate wages only led to the work being relocated where the laws did not apply. In the 1820's they faced addtional competion from displaced cotton weavers.
Stocking knitting was centred at Coventry. Those in the city retained their status longer than others in the textile industry. Due to the large number of Firsthand Journeymen (who owned their looms), the small number of manufacturers, and a degree of solidarity, they succeeded in keeping out cheap labour and such innovations as steam power (the first mill built in 1831 promptly burned down). In the 12 mile radius surrounding the city was the unregulated trade. The work was often done by the wives and children of collier or farmers, or half-pay apprentices. Sometimes these people were subcontractors to the firsthand journeymen.
[Above information drawn from, Maxime Berg, ,i>The Age of Manufactures, 1700-1820]
Personnaly, I'd have to give the question a lot of thought. If you could read and write you'd have some options that were more pleasant than if you could not. However, I think domestic work had the advantage it would be less likely to kill you. Nor would I particularly like to be in the Ranks in the Army, with the battlefield being among the least of my concerns.
- Great stuff--thanks for sharing it! (nfm) gkb 20:18:15 2/15/98 (0)
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