FACTORY. The word Factory,' according to the Factory Act (7 Viet. c. 15), means all buildings and premises wherein or within the close or curtilage of which steam, water, or any other me chanical power shall be used to move or work any machinery employed in pre paring, manufacturing, or finishing, or in any process incident to the manufacture of cotton, wool, hair, silk, flax, hemp, jute, or tow, either separately or mixed together, or mixed with any other mate rial or any fabric made thereof ; and any room situated within the outward gate or boundary of any factory wherein children or young persons are employed in any process incident to the manufacture car ried on in the factory, shall be taken to he a part of the factory, although it may net contain any machinery ; and any part of such factory may be taken to be a fac tory within the meaning of the Act, 7 Viet. c. 15 ; but this enactment shall not extend to any part of such factory used solely for the purposes of a dwelling house, not' to any part used solely for the manufacture of goods, made entirely of any other material than those herein enu merated, nor to any factory or part of a fac tory used solely for the manufacture of lace, of hats, or of paper, or solely for bleach ing, dyeing, printing, or calendering.
What is called the ' factory system' owes its origin to the invention and skill of Arkwright ; and it is probable that but for the invention of spinning machinery, and the consequent necessary aggrega tion of large numbers of workmen in cotton-mills, the name would never have been thus applied. It is in the cotton mills that the factory system has been brought to its highest state of perfection.
The first cotton-factory was established in 1771 by Arkwright in connection with Messrs. Need and Strutt, of Derby, and was situated at Cromford, on the river Derwent ; and the first of these establish ments erected in Manchester was built in 1780, and had its machinery impelled by an hydraulic wheel, the water for which was furnished by a single-stroke atmos pheric pumping steam-engine. The pro gress of cotton-factories was so rapid that in 1787 there were 145 in England and Wales, containing nearly two millions of spindles, and estimated to produce as much yarn as could have been spun by a million of persons using the old domestic wheel.
The number of cotton, wool, silk, and flax spinning factories worked by steam or water-power in the United Kingdom, with the number of persons employed therein in the year 18:15, was as follows:— Factories. Persons.
Cotton . . 1262 220,134 Wool . . . 1313 71,274 Silk . . . 238 30,682 Flax . . . 347 33,283 3160 355,373 The number of persons employed in textile manufactures in Great Britain, in 1841, was 800,246, the greater part of whom are employed in tlictories. The numbers employed on each description of fabric was as follows:— Cotton . . . . 377,622 Hose 50 955 Lace 35 347 Wool and Worsted 167,296 Silk 83,773 Flax and Linen . 85,213 800,246 The age and sex of the above-men tioned number of persons were as under: Aged 20 Years and upwards. Under 20. Total.
Males 344,121 109,230 453,381 Females 211,070 135,795 346,865- -- - Total 555,191 245,055 800,246The sex and age of persons employed in the cotton manufacture are given at COTTON MANUFACTURE AND TRADE, p. 696. the woollen manufacture the number of adult males employed is three times as great as that of the adult females, while the number of either sex under twenty years of age is compara tively small : the same may be said of the hose, but in the flax and linen manufac tures the preponderance is not quite so great. In silk the number of both sexes employed are nearly equal, the excess among adults being with the males, and under twenty with the females. The manufacture of lace is the only one in which the number of females is very much greater than that of males." (Cen sus Commissioners' Report.) In the Yorkshire district, which is under the superintendence of Mr. Saunders, the number of persons employed in factories in 1838 was 95,000, and in 1843 there were 106,500 ; but there was a positive decrease in the number of children, amounting to 2000. Mr. Howell, in spector of factories for Cheshire and the Midland Counties, states (Jan. 1844), that the few factories in which children under thirteen years of age are employed in his circuit are chiefly in isolated rural dis tricts or in non-manufacturing towns.