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Daisyfield Mill

Cotton

Cotton

Innovations on either side of the Atlantic meant that the cotton plantations and the Lancashire cotton industry grew together.

In 1793 Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin to separate cotton fibres from the seed head of upland cotton that could be grown over a wide geographical area in the southern states of America.

In England Arkwright's spinning frame and carding engine industrialised the spinning process.

By 1825 raw cotton was Britain's biggest import, in 1830 the USA supplied 80% of the raw cotton consumed by Lancashire's cotton manufacturing industry.

In the 1850s 700 voyages a year between Liverpool and the southern ports of America transported 1.5 million bales and accounted for half of Liverpool's trade.

Improvements in baling machinery increased the average weight from 250 lbs in the early 1800s to 400 lbs by 1860.

It was in the interests of Lancashire millowners that slavery persisted in the slave states of the USA for two reasons, obviously the availability of cheap raw cotton was the first. Secondly, manufacturing in those states was no competition for the Lancashire textile industry as long as they competed on low labour costs rather than innovation.