European Competition in Woollen Cloth, 1870-1914: The Role of Shoddy
In the debate about the performance of British industry in the late nineteenth century , the wool textile industry has long been recognised as having fared relatively well , compared with other home staple industries and with its competitors on the continent of Europe . l As Table 1 indicates , on the eve of the First World War world exports of wool textiles were dominated by the industries of the United Kingdom, Germany and France . Many other countries exported small quantities of cloth but the three major European producers accounted for nearly 85 per cent of trade . Those same three countries had dominated woollen and worsted cloth exports in the previous three decades. Of the other countries listed in Table 1 , several , including Japan , Sweden , Spain and Italy , had only recently expanded their wool textile exports .