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The Impact of the Industrial Revolution

Fascinating Facts

  • Fulled cloth would be pegged out in a tenterfield, using hooks, and this is where we get the phrase ‘on tenterhooks’ from, meaning to be in a state of suspense because you don’t know what’s going to happen next

 

  • If the clothier was dishonest, he may ask the workers in the tenterfield to overstretch the cloth, making it bigger than its original size.  This meant that any clothes made from the cloth would shrink as soon as they got wet!  This was obviously not an uncommon event, as “If a gentleman make a liverie (suit)  for his man, in the first shower of rain it may fit his Page for bigness” (A page was usually a small boy)

 

  • More spinners were needed than weavers, and this job often fell to the women of the house, including older, unmarried women, hence the term ‘spinster’.

 

  • The phrase “Enoch built it and Enoch broke it” refers to a blacksmith called Enoch who made the parts for the Cropping Frames used in the mills.  He also made sledgehammers, and it was these hammers that the Luddites used to smash his frames to bits!

 

  • Luddites are reported to have got their name from a young weaver called Ned Ludd, who was rumoured to be the first to smash a machine in a mill.  However, there is no historical record of Ned, so we don’t know if he actually existed.

 

  • The weaver had to make sure that there was some yarn left over, for the menders to use.  Because all the dyes were natural, the exact same shade could never be recreated.  Once the cloth was completely finished, this left over weft was used to create ‘wefties’ - balls of yarn that were used to play cricket with.

A Weftie Made from Leftover Yarn from Weaving