COTTON CLOTH 183. Making cloth by hand.—Every body needs clothes. Since cotton is the cheapest material we have for clothing, we may expect to find many people in a great many factories busy making cotton cloth. Some of these factories are in the South Atlantic States.
Years ago, when the white people first settled in America, and for a long time afterward, nearly every woman spun the thread or yarn to make the clothes for her family. She spun the thread on a hand • spinning wheel and then wove it into cloth on a hand loom. Now the spinning machines and weaving machines are so large that it takes engines or waterwheels to run them, and the yarn and cloth are made in factories where many people work.
A long time ago people usually wore wool or linen, because cotton was very expen sive. Before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin (1793), it took a person half a day to pick by hand the seeds out of a pound of cotton. The gin did it so quickly that cotton became cheaper than wool or linen. Now that we can make cloth so easily, the little Indian girls in some of the missions on the Yukon River, in Alaska, wear gingham dresses; and even the black men away off in Central Africa wear cotton cloth that white men have made.
For a long time, raw cotton was sent- out of the Southern States to be made into cloth in the mills of England and New England and then brought back to the cotton states for the People there to wear. Now, cotton mills have been built in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, and the cotton mills are beside the cotton fields.
The western part of all the South At lantic States, except Florida and Delaware, is highland—the Southern Appalachian Highland—and as the rivers run down toward the Atlantic, there are many falls in them. Scores of these falls are used to turn waterwheels. The power is carried on electric wires to cotton mills in Lynchburg and Danville, Virginia; Greensboro, Raleigh and High Point, North Carolina; Spartan burg and Anderson, South Carolina; Athens and Rome, Georgia, and scores of other cities and towns in those states.
184. Factories for cotton was in New England that cotton cloth was first made in American factories, for New Eng land also has waterfalls which furnished power for machinery. These New England streams were used to run cotton mills over a hundred years ago, and ever since that time ships have been taking cotton from South Atlantic and gulf ports to such New ton and send the material back to us made into beautiful lace.
There are many kinds of cotton, and many, many things are made of cotton. Sailing vessels all over the world have sails of coarse cotton cloth. Millions of soldiers have slept in cotton tents. The people of Japan make beautiful crepe cloth of cotton. The native of India wears a big turban of cotton cloth instead of a hat. The stores in the tiny villages of many lands have spools of cotton thread for sewing. Most of our sheets, pillow-cases, towels, and even some kinds of twine and rope are made of cotton.
England ports as Boston, Salem, and Fall River in Massachusetts, and Providence in Rhode Island. From these ports, the cotton bales go to factory towns to be made into cloth. From them the fine cloth of New England goes to every state in the United States.
185. Cotton mills in foreign countries. —The first cotton factory in New England was started by an Englishman, for England had cotton mills before New England had them. England has long led the world in the cotton cloth trade. Ships loaded with bales of cotton from America, Egypt, and India, are unloaded every day at Liverpool and Manchester. Every European coun try has some cotton mills, and much American raw cotton is sent to France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. (See Fig. 315.) The skillful and industrious people of Switzerland buy our bales of cot