Power Learning Journey
The most important element of the Cotton Industry's development from the 18th century onwards was the mechanisation of processes formerly carried out by hand. With the development of the Water Frame, Mule and Power Loom, the power required to drive ever larger and more complex textile machines became greater than human muscle could easily apply. In the steps that follow, we outline the principal forms of power employed in the cotton industry during the various phases of its development.
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Power Learning Journey Step 5: Electricity and Gas
Gas power was also extensively used in many mills from the mid-19th century onwards, primarily to provide lighting. For example, the Chorlton Mills complex on Cambridge Street had a gas plant. Quarry Bank Mill had a gas retort and there was a large gasworks in the Bradford area of Manchester. Gas power was also important for street lighting, which enabled cotton workers to safely find their way to and from work.
The Acme Spinning Co. Ltd., of Pendlebury, claimed to have constructed the UK's first electrically driven cotton spinning mill in 1905, at their No.1 Mill, "which was driven by current purchased from the Lancashire Electric Power Co.".