Gartside

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. 1760s England
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English manufacturer who set up what was probably the first power-driven weaving shed.
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A loom on which more than one ribbon could be woven at once may have been invented by Anton Möller at Danzig in 1586. It arrived in England from the Low Countries and was being used in London by 1616 and in Lancashire by 1680. Means were being devised in Switzerland c.1730 for driving these looms by power, but this was prohibited because it was feared that these looms would deprive other weavers of work. In England, a patent was taken out by John Kay of Bury and John Stell of Keighley in 1745 for improvements to these looms and it is probably that Gartside received permission to use this invention. In Manchester, Gartside set up a mill with swivel looms driven by a water-wheel; this was probably prior to 1758, because a man was brought up at the Lancaster Assizes in March of that year for threatening to burn down "the Engine House of Mr. Gartside in Manchester, Merchant". He set up his factory near Garrett Hall on the south side of Manchester and it may still have been running in 1764. However, the enterprise failed because it was necessary for each loom to be attended by one person in order to prevent any mishap occurring, and therefore it was more economic to use hand-frames, which the operatives could control more easily.
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Further Reading
J.Aikin, 1795, A Description of the Country from Thirty to Forty Miles Round Manchester, London (provides the best account of Gartside's factory).
Both R.L.Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester; and A.P.Wadsworth and J. de L.Mann, 1931, The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire, Manchester, make use of Aikin's material as they describe the development of weaving.
A.Barlow, 1878, The History and Principles of Weaving by Hand and by Power, London (covers the development of narrow fabric weaving).
RLH

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

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