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Cotton Spinning Machinery Orders, British Textile Machinery Firms, 1878-1933 (ICPSR 27141)

Principal Investigator(s): Wright, Gavin, Stanford University


This was a long-term study of the diffusion of cotton-spinning technologies from Britain to emerging textile industries around the world. Cotton manufacturing was the first global industry, and the dataset provides information on orders covering roughly 90 percent of world trade in these machines. Virtually every major national cotton industry is covered, the major exception being the United States of America (whose textiles industry was supplied primarily by the protected textile machinery industry). The orders include detailed information about machine specifications, such as frame size, machine speed, the yarn count for which the machine is designed, and the types of raw cotton to be utilized. A specific issue that motivated the research project was the choice between mule spinning and ring spinning, on which national patterns diverged widely. There is an extensive literature on this topic, to which Saxonhouse and Wright contributed. See most recently: "Technological Evolution in Cotton Spinning, 1878-1933," in Douglas A. Farnie and David J. Jeremy (eds.), The Fibre that Changed the World: The Cotton Industry in International Perspective, 1600-1990s (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

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Study Description


Wright, Gavin. Cotton Spinning Machinery Orders, British Textile Machinery Firms, 1878-1933. ICPSR27141-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-11-18. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR27141.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR27141.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    globalization, industrialization, industry, manufacturing industry

Geographic Coverage:    Great Britain

Time Period:   

  • 1878--1933

Unit of Observation:    individual machine order

Universe:    Virtually every spinning-machine order from the textile-machinery firms whose internal company records are now archived at the Lancashire Public Record Office in Preston, United Kingdom. The records of some firms have not been saved, but the dataset covers the great majority of sales, both foreign and domestic.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

Gary Saxonhouse, Department of Economics, University of Michigan, assisted by John Brown of Clark University, was a special collaborator on this data collection.

These data are distributed exactly as they arrived from the data depositor. ICPSR has not processed this material.


Data Source:

Internal company records of textile machinery firms archived at Lancashire Public Records Office in Preston, UK.


Original ICPSR Release:   2011-11-18

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