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Did the development of the needle industry, from a small craft industry to a major manufacturer, affect the working conditions of the needle makers in the needles district of Redditch and the surrounding areas?

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Did the development of the needle industry, from a small craft industry to a major manufacturer, affect the working conditions of the needle makers in the needles district of Redditch and the surrounding areas? During the industrial revolution the needle industry grew dramatically. The industrial revolution began roughly in the 18th century and many different industries participated all over the country. Machinery developed greatly which significantly decreased the need for skilled workers, which caused an industrial transformation from hand workers to machinery. The surge in technological development was aided by the introduction of steam and water power being applied into machinery in this period. This are developed due to many reasons, one of the reasons is because there were great transport links. Redditch had plenty of rivers and cannels around; one of the cannels went to the major city Birmingham which had cannels leading to all over the country. The great transport meant that Redditch also had great communication and that helped the area develop. ...read more.


Milwards created a needle mill, were everyone worked in the same building, this was about the same time most needle mill were built. Later on big factories were produced and by 1847 almost 50 million needles were being produced each week in Redditch (ref: 'Forge Mill guide book'). In 1866 (ref: Forge Mill guide book) the needle industry reached its peak and was producing about 100 million needles a week. This is partly due to the use of machinery in needle making which meant that needles could be produced quicker and to a higher standard. However, some machines were rejected, one of which was the extractor fan which removed the dust from the pointers and making their job less dangerous. It was rejected because pointers got paid so much because their job was so dangerous but the extractor fan reduced the risk so it would also reduce the pointers wages. One piece of equipment which was widely used was the scouring bed which was water or steam powered and saved a lot of time, but it still took over 24 hour's for needles to be scoured. ...read more.


This probably because loads of spark flew off the flips which created quite a lot of light so they didn't need large windows. The grindstone moved at a very quick speed even compared to modern day standard. However, this caused a lot of dust to come off the flips which was inhaled by the pointer and caused what was known as pointers rot. Pointers rot meant that most pointers in mills didn't get to live beyond 30 years old. To prevent pointers rot the extractor fan was invented but this was rejected by many pointers as it would reduce their pay if their jobs were less dangerous. It was rejected until 1845 when the pointer gave in so they could live longer. Another danger to the pointers because the stone moved so quickly is that the grindstone could sometimes explode and kill them, there was no way of predicted when this would happen or preventing it from happening. At the Forge Mill needle museum there is and exploded grindstone with the name 'Edward Mathews' engraved on it to remember that he died in August 1816 after a grindstone exploded and killed him. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 George Edwardes ...read more.

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