|Building Needed||Water-Powered Cloth Mill|
|Stream||Textile Industry, Industry|
A powered, mechanical loom that can be operated by shifts of unskilled workers.
Manual weaving is a skilled craft, one that requires long years to master and, as always, this limits the output of a craft-based industry. The power loom automates many of the movements needed to weave cloth. A cunning series of levers, cams, gears and springs make the individual elements of the loom move in precise time. The operator monitors the work, and makes sure that the machine is supplied with yard. This unskilled labour requires nimble fingers, but not the master craftsmanship of old.
During the 18th Century powered looms were seen as a threat to many livelihoods, provoking riots and unrest when they were installed in mills.Edmund Cartwright (1743-1823) was not the first to turn his mind to mechanical weaving, but he was the first to understand the economics of the problem: that a power loom had to make more than a manual weaver, or that one operator had to be able to work several looms at the same time. His machine was not perfect, but it showed promise and the way ahead.