Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1919. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER n THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPINNING The loaded distaff in the left hand placed, · With spongy coils of snow-white wool was graced From these the right hand lengthy fibres drew, Which into thread 'neath nimble fingers grew. At intervals a gentle touch was given, By which the twirling whorl was onward driven; Then, when the sinking spindle reached the ground, The recent thread around the spire was wound, Until the clasp within the nipping cleft Held fast the newly-finished length of weft. Catullus. Minerva, as I have already said, was by the ancients regarded as the goddess <»f the art of spinning, and Catullus is among the poets to sing its praises. Up to the middle of the 18th century the simplest devices were used for twisting the fibres and there was, during this time, apparently no demand for anything more elaborate or calculated to facilitate the work of spinning. It was not a progressive time, or an art so widely practised would have called for the employment of greatly improved methods. From the middle of ll the 18th century, the inventive mind set itself the task of revolutionising the spinning processes, and by constant application to the work in hand, the product of the hand-loom was slightly increased through the agency of mechanical means. Experiments with more ambitious mechanical devices followed, and some of these satisfactorily met the claims advanced in their favour by their respective inventors. But the opposition of the workers had to be encountered. They offered the strongest resistance to any modernising of an art which had come down to them through successive generations and, in their view, it was something in the nature of sacrilege to supplant hand-spinning by mechanical means. But the conservatism of the humble operatives had to give way to th...
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