ABSTRACT

In one sense the transition from hand-loom to power-loom weaving appears to be more straightforward than the jerky and sporadic advance of the spinning branches. Weaving machinery was not divided into so many major sub-types as the spinning machinery, and the power-loom, once it became competitive in the 1820's, marched irresistibly and cruelly over the helpless mass of hand-loom weavers. In addition to this relatively clear case of industrial displacement, however, we must consider also several minor developments between the 1770's and the 1840's such as structural changes within hand-loom weaving itself and the rise of "hand-loom factories" in the early nineteenth century. Neither of these is very important quantitatively, but each is instructive as an instance of structural differentiation.