Cotton mill

A cotton mill is a building housing spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton, an important product during the Industrial Revolution in the development of the factory system.
The mechanisation of the spinning process in the early factories was instrumental in the growth of the machine tool industry, enabling the construction of larger cotton mills. Limited companies were developed to construct mills, and the trading floors of the cotton exchange in Manchester, created a vast commercial city. Mills generated employment, drawing workers from largely rural areas and expanding urban populations. They provided incomes for girls and women. Child labour was used in the mills, and the factory system led to organised labour. Poor conditions became the subject of exposes, and in England, the Factory Acts were written to regulate them.
Before 1780, only water power was available to drive large mills, but they were dependent on a constant flow of water and built in rural locations, causing problems of labour supply, transportation of materials and access to urban merchants for large mill-owners. Steam engines had been used to pump water since the invention of the atmospheric engine by Thomas Newcomen in 1712 and, starting with the engine installed at Arkwright's Haarlem Mill in Wirksworth, Derbyshire in 1780, were used to supplement the supply of water to the water wheels of cotton mills.
Large mills remained the exception during this period. In 1833 the largest mill was that of McConnel and Company in Ancoats, Manchester with 1,545 workers, but in 1841 there were still only 25 mills in Lancashire with 1,000 workers or more, and the number of workers in the average mill was 193.
In the 1840s George Henry Corliss of Providence, Rhode Island improved the reliability of stationary steam engines. He replaced slide valves with valves that used cams. These Corliss valves were more efficient and more reliable than their predecessors. Initially, steam engines pumped water into a nearby reservoir that powered the water wheel, but were later used as the mill's primary power source. The Corliss valve was adopted in the UK, where in 1868 more than 60 mill engines were fitted with them.
The modern Indian mechanised textile industry was born in 1854, when a steam-powered mill was opened in Bombay by Cowasjee N. Davar. More followed: there were 10 by 1865 and 47 by 1875. By 1880 there were 58 mills in India employing 40,000 workers, with over 80% of them in the cities of Bombay and Ahmedabad. From the 1870 s India's own markets for finished yarn and cloth ceased to be dominated by imports from Lancashire, and during the 1870 s and 1880 s the Bombay cotton industry began to replace exports of yarn from Britain to China.
Ring spinning technology had successfully replaced the spinning mule, with mills having been converted mules to rings. However, in the 1970s, the depleted industry was challenged by a new technology open-end or break spinning. In 1978 Carrington Viyella opened a factory to do open-end spinning in Atherton. This was the first new textile production facility in Lancashire since 1929. Immediately Pear Mill, Stockport and Alder Mill, Leigh were closed. These were both Edwardian mills designed by Stott and Sons. The mill built in 1978 was built on the Howe Bridge mills site and was named Unit One. It was not an open end mill but a combed cotton ring mill.
Electricity was introduced in 1877. Steam engine drove generators to provide electric lighting. By the 1890s this was common. Electricity was used to drive the mills machinery by 1906. It was generated in the engine house, and one group-drive electric motor was placed on each floor to drive the shafts. Generators were placed exterior to the mill as it was thought that they were a fire risk. Mains driven mills started about 1907. Later mills used individual electric motors to power the machinery.