Apprenticeship was a cardinal feature of the older economy, and was preserved in form in the skilled trades, though sometimes deteriorating in substance. The hand-loom weavers sought to the last to maintain the system; about 1840 there were still over 700 apprentices in the Paisley trade. Boys in the tobacco-spinning workshops were apprenticed at 14 or 15 after some years of casual labour. An apprenticeship of five years was usual among engineers, patternmakers and shipwrights; and one of three years among boilermakers, who prescribed a limit of one apprentice to five journeymen. The Typographical Association, representing one of the most highly skilled and best organized crafts, insisted on a seven years' apprenticeship, and had chronic disputes over the introduction of machinery and of female labour. The Edinburgh Trades Council reported that apprenticeship was lessening in that city, and the miners, that the stipulation of the Mines Regulation Act for a two years' apprenticeship was ignored.