Women and children operating textile machinery. The machines were connected via belts to a steam engine which provided the power. The mechanisation of textile machinery throughout Britain and Europe in the early 19th century revolutionised cotton manufacturing. The cost of cotton production fell, while demand for cotton products rose, and workers were increasingly driven from the fields into the new cotton mills and factories. Many of these were children, who worked long hours under dangerous conditions. Illustration from 'History of the cotton manufacture in Great Britain: with a notice of its early history in the East, and in all the quarters of the globe' by Edward Baines (1800-1890), published in London in 1835.
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