Crossley, Joseph

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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b. Halifax (?), England
d. September 1868 Halifax (?), England
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English patentee of successful power-driven carpet looms.
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Joseph Crossley was the second son of John, the founder of a carpet-weaving firm in Halifax. He did not figure much in public life for he was essentially a business man. It was under his direct superintendence that most of the extensions at Dean Clough Mill, Halifax, were built, and to a very great degree the successful working of the vast establishment that these mills became, covering fifteen acres, was due to him. In 1864 the firm became a limited-liability company, worth over a million pounds c.1880.
The company's vital patents for the power-driven carpet looms were taken out in his name. The first, in 1850 in the names of Joseph Crossley, George Collier and James Hudson, was for weaving carpets in a manner similar to the way velvet was woven, with the pile warp threads passing over wires. After a couple of picks of weft, a wire was inserted from the side over the main warp threads but under the pile warp threads. These were lowered and another couple of weft shoots bound in the pile warp. The pile was cut with a knife running along a slot in the top of the wire, and then the wire was removed. There was a further patent in 1851, in the name of Joseph Crossley alone, for improvements in the manufacture of Brussels and cut-pile carpets. An interesting part of this patent was the use of a partly coloured warp to make patterns in the carpets. These vital patents gave the Crossley brothers their dominance in carpet weaving; production on their power looms was six times quicker than by hand. Like his brothers, one of whom was Francis Crossley, he was a great benefactor to charities. The brothers built the Crossley Orphan Home at a cost of £50,000 and endowed it with about £3,000 a year.
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Bibliography
1850, British patent no. 13,267 (power-driven carpet loom).
1851, British patent no. 13,474 (improvements in manufacture of Brussels and cut-pile carpets).
Further Reading
J.Hogg (ed.), Fortunes Made in Business, London (contains an account of the firm of John Crossley \& Sons).
RLH

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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