Note:  the publication date is given for the entry below, however, this industry didn’t just spring up the day before, weaving of cotton had begun years before and it is the growth of the industry that is being reported.  That growth was due in large part to the revocation of a heavy tax on British cotton thread and cloth in 1774, the introduction of the Flying Shuttle (1733) and the Spinning Jenny (1765),  and invention of the cotton gin in the 1790s.

The same source as the first entry below also said, “The number of criminals, in December 1781, was 206.  They were spinning, weaving, making nets, making and mending clothes, or working in the bakehouse and kitchen…”.

“For the following information respecting the number of hand Looms in the city [Philadelphia] for weaving cotton goods, we are indebted to a member of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting Domestic Manufactures…There are in Philadelphia and its vicinity 104 warping mills at work, each of which is sufficient to employ from 40 to 50 weavers, making the number of weavers about 4500.  Dyers over 200; spoolers 3000, bobbin winders 2000.  Weavers can now average 5 dollars per week, dyers 5, warpers 5, spoolers from 50 cents to 1.50, and bobbin winders 1…Houses occupied by weavers about 1500, average rent 60 to 80 dollars per year, Indigo used per week 2200 lbs., flour used as sizing per week 30 to 40 bbs., quantity of goods produced per day 81,000 yards, average value 16 cents per yard.”  Philadelphia 25th June, 1827.

A parade of sorts was held in 1828 and reported in July to promote the industry, “Mrs. Hewson and her four daughters, all dressed in cottons of their own manufacture; on the back part of the carriage, on a lofty staff, was displayed the calico printers’ flag; in the centre, thirteen stars in a blue field, and thirteen red stripes in a white field; round the edges of the flag were printed thirty-seven different prints of various colors…as specimens of printing done at Philadelphia…Then followed the weavers’ flag, a rampant lion in a green field, holding a shuttle in his dexter paw…behind the flag walked the weavers of the factory, accompanied by other citizens of the same trade, in number about one hundred; the cotton card makers annexed themselves to this society”.  1828.

thistledewbooks @ yahoo . com for information. Articles are copyright protected.


Hazard, Samuel.  “The Register of Pennsylvania”.  1828.

Published by thehistoricfoodie

I write articles for various magazines and books about foods and cooking techniques. My work centers primarily around historic foods and I travel throughout the country doing cooking demonstrations at various local, state, and national venues and teaching an occasional period cooking class. I've done cooking demonstrations on national and local television, including Chicago's WGN.

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