By M. W. Flinn (auth.)
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Extra resources for An Economic and Social History of Britain Since 1700
Firstly, Cartwright's machine was far from perfect, and some years of development were necessary before it could be used commercially on a wide scale. Secondly, weaving had always been a man's trade, and the men were less willing to desert the comparative freedom of the home for the discipline of the factory. So the loom went into the factory much more slowly than did the spinning-wheel. In 1813, it was estimated that there were still only 2,400 power looms in the country. Thereafter the transfer of the loom from the home to the factory quickened, and twenty years later about 100,000 power-looms were in operation.
In the first half of the eighteenth century about half of Britain's imports came from the Continent of Europe. Early in the eighteenth century trade was expanding slowly. During the period between 1740 and 1788 there were many wars interrupting not merely European commerce, but also trade in America and India. The Seven Years' War (1756-68) led to the exclusion of France from India and added Canada to the British Empire. It is not surprising then, that, in spite of these interruptions to trade, British overseas trade continued to expand.
Watt easily appreciated the shortcomings of Newcomen's machine and devoted himself to improving it. At last, in 1765, after some years of experiment, he designed an engine with a coal consumption less than half that of Newcomen's. He realised that the re-heating of the cylinder between each stroke of the piston was extremely wasteful, and devised a separate cylinder into which the steam from the main cylinder could be drawn to be condensed by cold water. Thus he INDUSTRY avoided . cooling the main cylinder, with a consequent saving of steam and fuel.
An Economic and Social History of Britain Since 1700 by M. W. Flinn (auth.)