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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Cotton And Cotton Industry

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"AND COTTON INDUSTRY COTTON 7.256, 281).-The chief problems which faced the cotton industry after the beginning of the 20th century centred in the question of the supply of the raw material. Up to the outbreak of the World War the outstanding feature was the steady increase of the demand. The industry is unique in possessing fairly reliable statistics of the consumption throughout the world, these having been compiled with increasing completeness by the International Federation of Master Cotton Spinners' and Manufacturers' Associations since 1904. The last issue before the war (March I 1914) contained actual returns from the owners of 132 million spindles out of an estimated world's total of 145 millions, or 91 `', 1 / 0 of the world's total mill capacity. These figures do not, of course, include domestic spinning, which in many countries, especially India and China, accounts for a large part of the local consumption, so that they must always be incomplete; but this does not greatly affect comparative statistics from year to year.

The possession of such statistics offered an opportunity to attempt a balance sheet of the world's production and consumption such as is given in Table A. During the war it was impossible to continue the world statistics of consumption of cotton of all kinds, but other figures for the American crop alone are available to bring the table down to date as far as was possible in 1921.

The causes of the increase of consumption may be briefly tabulated as follows: (I) The increasing wealth of the world, especially of those tropical and subtropical countries whose products are largely raw materials such as cotton, and which for climatic reasons happen to be also the largest cotton-using countries in the world.

(2) Improved methods of manufacture, and the discovery of new processes which made it possible to produce cotton fabrics of an entirely different character, quality and finish from those previously known. The old process of " mercerising," reapplied with new success, produced cotton fabrics with a finish and appearance closely resembling silk, while the additional process known as " schreinering " produced a surface like satin.

(3) Similar developments enabled cotton to be used not merely as an adulterant of, but as a really satisfactory substitute for, fabrics made from other textile materials, such as wool and linen, e.g. the raising process made it possible to produce cotton goods as much superior to the early attempts at woollen imitations as these were inferior to the real article. Cotton " damask " was also taking the place of the original linen.

World's Commercial Crops and Mill Consumption.'

American Crop and World's Consumption thereof.

Mean

Mean

Balance.

Average

Price of

Commercial

Consump-

Average

Price

Crops.

Con-

sumption.

American,

Indian and

Egyptian.

Crop.'

tion.2

Balance.

American

Middling.

Bales (000's omitted).

Pence per lb.

Bales (000's omitted).

Pence per lb.

1904-1905 .. 19,648

17,726

+1,922

5.66

13,656

12,664

+ 99 2

4.93

1905-1906 .. 17,266

18,214

- 94 8

6.73

11,443

12,081

- 6 3 8

5'94

1906-1907 .. 20,815

19,523

+1,292

7.21

13,735

13,203

+ 53 2

6.38

1907-1908 .. 1 7,5 6 4

19,393

-1,829

6.68

11,456

12,112

- 656

6.19

1908-1909 .. 20,229

19,828

+ 401

6

29

13,831

13,157

+ 6 74

5

50

1909-1910 .. 17,216

19,148

-1,932

9.10

10,592

11,754

-1,162

7

86

1910-1911 .. 18,854

20,222

-1,368

8

54

11,986

12,054

- 68

7.84

1911-1912 .. 22,157

21,495

+ 662

7.09

16,108

14,515

+1,593

6'09

1912-1913 .. 21,503

22,302

- 799

7'57

14,106

14,715

- 609

6.76

1913-1914 .. 23,309

22,296

+1,013

7.52

14,882

15,541

+ 34 1

7.26

1914-1915 . l

15,108

13,834

+1,274

5.22

1915-1916 . I

12,038

14,812

-1,874

7'51

1916-1917.1

not available.

12,941

13,906

- 965

12.33

Complete

1917-1918 statistics

11,907

12,282

- 375

21.68

1918-1919 . I

11,640

io,600

+1,040

19'73

1919-1920 . J

12,443

12,735

- 292

25.31

[[Table A]].-Balance of the World's Production and Consumption, 1904 -20. (4) Many entirely new uses were being discovered for cotton, of which two only need be mentioned on account of the enormous importance they acquired during the war, namely aeroplane cloth and motor-car tire fabric. At the same time the possibilities of cotton in entirely new forms of fabric were being worked out, e.g. in the hosiery trade, where their first use in cheap cotton hose has led to the evolution of entirely new classes of knitted garments and now even knitted piece goods, which is perhaps the most promising future development of all.

Table B shows the three chief crops, namely American, Indian, and Egyptian: wages; and second, the annual loss of an increasing percentage of the crop owing to the steady progress of the boll weevil eastward and northward throughout the belt, thus reducing the average yield per acre.

The position before the World War therefore was that the cotton world was faced with a striking application of the economic law of diminishing return. The greater the quantity of raw cotton they demanded from the world's producers, the higher its cost of production was going, with the result that the price was on the whole rising steadily, and more rapidly than the general level of prices as shown by the index numbers.

Season

Area

Crop

Yield per acre

Liverpool prices (pence per lb.)

Lowest Highest Average

Middling

American

Acres

Bales

(500 lb.

Bales

approx.)

1911-12

36,045

16,043

45

4'92

7'53

6.09

1912-13

34,283

14,129

.41

6.05

7.19

6.76

1913-14

37,089

14,610

39

6.20

7'96

7.27

1914-15

36,832

15,067

41

4.25

6.50

5.22

1915-16

31,412

12,953

.41

5'34

8.74

7.51

1916-17

34,985

12,976

'37

8.12

19.45

12.33

1917-18

33,841

11,912

35

16'90

24'97

21.68

1918-19

36,008

11,603

.32

15.24

24'77

19.73

1919-20

33,566

12,218

.36

17.85

30.51

25.31

1920-21

35,878

13,500

38

6.38

27.10

1921-22

26,519

Indian

Acres

Bales (400 lb.)

Lb.

Fine M. G. Broach

191 1-12

21,615

3,288

62

4.68

6.06

5.31 $

1912-13

22,028

4,610

84

5.44

6.12

5.841

1913-14

25,020

5,065

81

4.69

6.25

5'56$

1914 -1 5

24,595

5,209

85

4'15

5.75

4'90

1915-16

17,746

3,738

84

5.15

8

40

7.19

1916-17

21,745

4,502

83

7'95

18.80

11

83

1917-18

25,188

4,000

64

16.70

22.90

20.81

1918-19

20,497

3,671

72

14.71

25.50

19.01

1919-20

23,353

5,796

99

17.55

25.35

21.70

1920-21

21,016

3,556

68

6.90

20.60

1921-22

Egyptian

Feddans*

Kantars*

Lb.

_ F. G. F. Brown

1911-12

1,711

7,424

433

8.87

10.50

9.56

1912-13

1,722

7,533

437

9.56

10.15

9.82

1913-14

1,723

7,684

444

8.15

10.45

9'44

1914- 1 5

1,755

6,490

369

6.30

8.30

7.34

1915-16

1,186

4,806

406

7.50

11.90

10.42

1916-17

1,656

5,111

310

II. 60

31.50

21.56

1917-18

1,677

6,308

375

28.56t

35'50

30.97

1918-19

1,361

4,821

354

26'59f

30.19

27.85

1919-20

1,574

5,572

354

29.50f

99.00

60.34

1920-21

1,828

6,035

330

13.00 f

71.00

1921-22

1,286

[[Table B]].-Area, Yield and Prices of the World's Chief Crops, 1911-21. The figures in italics are estimates. *A feddan is practically an acre, and a kantar ioo lb. tSakel. IGood Bhownuggar.

From this table it will be seen that the American crop still in 1920 dominated the world's supply, forming about 60% of the whole, so that the fluctuations in the world's total were practically the same as those of the American crop. These latter fluctuations therefore acquired special importance, and a closer study of them revealed the fact that they were not merely accidental, but seemed to follow a certain rule. They presented an almost regular see-saw movement of area, crop and prices which may be summarized as follows:-A large American crop tended to produce a lower level of prices; but owing to the rising cost of production in America, and the fact that the price was barely sufficient to remunerate many of the growers, such a fall in price meant a reduction in the acreage planted the following season. This, other things being equal, produced a smaller crop, which meant an inadequate supply and a rise of price again, followed by a return to larger acreage, and so the circle went on. Thus the price of American cotton was constantly fluctuating in a way which was injurious alike to consumers and producers.

The crucial fact of the cotton situation lay in the increasing cost of production in America, which was due to several factorsfirst, the increased cost of everything used by the planter, and especially the rising labour cost of the crop owing to increased The Effects of the War.-The first effect of the war was a tremendous slump in the price of cotton, because the expected cessation of demand happened to coincide with the largest American crop on record. All the exchanges were closed and nominal prices fixed. Under these conditions a difficulty very quickly arose with regard to the position of cotton as contraband. In view of its use for munitions as well as for many other semimilitary purposes, it should in the interests of the Allies have been placed under embargo at once; but to do so under the then existing market conditions would have produced utter demoralization, and probably a serious dispute with America. It was not for about six months that the question was finally settled by a compromise under which a modified embargo was laid upon cotton; but this was converted into a formal declaration of contraband some months later. In the meantime prices had begun to recover, but not sufficiently to prevent the expected serious reduction of acreage throughout the world for the 1915 crops, which were the smallest on record for many years. In 1916 the American and Egyptian acreages were almost back to pre-war figures, but the average yield that year was poor, with the result that the crops were again much below pre-war normal. During 1916 prices rose sharply as the industry began to realize that demand was recovering in an unexpected way, and that the huge surplus of the 1914 crop was rapidly being exhausted. It was not till the early summer of 1917, however, that matters came to a head, when the intensive submarine campaign made it impossible to maintain adequate imports of cotton. The Cotton Control Board was set up in Liverpool to ration the limited supplies available,' and at a later stage the British and Egyptian Governments set up a control scheme in Egypt to handle the 1918 crop by purchase.

Up to the end of the war, therefore, the supplies actually available remained very limited, and it was only due to the compulsory restriction of the consumption of the Central Powers that the supply was able to meet the demand at all. Unfortunately the Armistice was followed by a temporary period of hesitation and delay in getting things going again, which resulted in a serious fall in the price of cotton. This immediately reacted in a reduction of the acreage again in 1919 in America, and as this happened to coincide with another disastrous season, the 1919 supply was again extremely short. When on the top of this came the great post-war boom of 1919-20, in which the real needs of the world were exaggerated by the speculative hopes of those who saw fortunes in the reopening of the world's markets, prices simply broke all bounds and rose to figures which have perhaps never been equalled in the history of the trade. American cotton was over 2S. 8d. a lb., while the best Egyptian was over ios. a lb. Indeed one of the features of the period was the extraordinary premiums paid for good staple cotton. This was largely due to the sudden rise of the motor trade in America. When it came out that at the beginning of 1919 there were over six million motor-cars in the United States (since increased to ten millions), it was obvious that the demand for that class of cotton would be large, and the Egyptian varieties were the most desirable for the purpose. The result was practically a corner in Egyptian, which drove the price up to $200 per kantar (100 lb.) in Alexandria, against an average of less than $20 before the war.

The subsequent slump in cotton was as dramatic as had been its rise. Within almost twelve months from the very top prices in Feb. 1920, American cotton had again fallen below pre-war prices, while Egyptian, which had so much farther to fall, reached almost the same point. The inevitable effect again was a movement for the reduction of acreage, which once more brought the world's crops for 1921 far below pre-war records.

1 See History of the Cotton Control Board by H. D. Henderson (the Secretary) 1921.

In the meantime the world's trade had been brought almost to a standstill by the slump in demand everywhere. The extent of this is shown by the Federation statistics (Table C), which were resumed on July 3 1 1920 (the date of the cotton "season" having been in the meantime advanced by a month).

In their figures as at Jan. 31 1921, shown in the above table, it was possible to compare the consumption during the height of the boom with that of the pre-war year, and also with that of the first six months of the slump. The fact that the consumption even during the boom was not equal to the pre-war consumption is due, first, to the destruction of textile machinery in the devastated districts of France and Belgium; and, second, to the reduction of the hours of labour throughout most parts of the cotton world, which came into vogue immediately after the war. In 1919 the makers of textile machinery were utterly unable to cope with the demand for new machinery to replace that which had been destroyed during the war, or to make up the arrears of renewals which had fallen behind during the war. New machinery outside of these privileged requirements was practically unobtainable, with the result that the trade was unable to take full advantage of the boom in the demand by increasing its output. The high prices were therefore due not merely (if at all) to the shortage of the raw material, except perhaps in the case of Egyptian and other staple cottons, but rather to a shortage of cotton goods.

Year to Aug. 31 1913.

Year to July 31 1920.

Half-year to Jan. 3! 1921.

Consumption.

Consumption.

Consumption.

Country.

v

H CA

W

E-- ,

< c n

4

W

H

Q ,i

d

?

?-

W

)

cn

-

H

Great Britain .

55, 6 53

3, 66 7

54

39 2

161

4, 2 74

5 6 ,9 00

2, 8 9 1

5642 9

1 37

3,5 1 3

56,352

1,091

23

152

46

1,312

Germany.. .

11,186

1,355

188

Ho

47

1,700

5,620

382

79

16

44

521

6,561

272

102

9

20

403

France. .

7,400

806

95

80

29

1,010

7,360

671

57

70

24

822

7,000

314

34

2 5

22

395

Russia. .. .

9,213

487

21

87

1,913

2,508

(No statistics)

750

-

-

I

6 73

674

Poland and Finland .

(Included under Russia)

9891 61 12 - - I 7 3

1,418

44

6

2

6

58

Austria .

4,909 627154 33 2 31 8 37

(No statistics)

1,140

21

21

I

I

44

Czechoslovakia .

(Included under Austria)

1,603

86

8

1

3

98

3,5 8 4

8 9

17

2

2

no

Italy.. .

4,600 57 1

1 75

1 9

2 5

79 0

4,34 0

549

1 47

3 6

8

740

4,506

302

III

12

4

429

Spain.. .. .

2,000 285

34

20

19

358

1,800

305

40

25

20

390

1,806

138

34

7

I

180

Belgium.. .

1,492 171

82

I

3

2 57

1 ,4 6 7

1 59

73

2

I

235

1 ,59 1

7 0

56

128

Switzerland. .

1,398 65

3

2 9

98

1,460

57

6

20

I

84

1,531

29

4

9

-

42

Other European .

1.658 272

17

I

24

314

1,815

272 24

-

15

311

1, 8 44

1 33

1

-

33

181

Total European

99,509 8,306

823

77 2

2,245

12,146

8 3,354

5,433 5 02

599

2 53

6,787

88,083

2,503

423

221

809

3,956

U.S.A.. .. .

3 1 ,5055,553

-

201

32

5,786

35,499

6,010 12

243

160

6,425

36,051

2,221

5

58

36

2,320

India.. .

6,084 94

2,081

I

2,177

6,420

0.5 2,032

4

2,046

6,763

I

1,109

2

1,114

Japan. .. .

2,300425

993

16

1 55

1 ,5 8 9

3, 1 55

7091, 1 5 0

21

204

2,084

3,804

337

7 2 3

7

461,113

Canada. .. .

855 113

-

-

-

113

681

118 -

-

-

118

78

-

2

-

80

Others. .. .

3,200

16

-

141,091

1,121

4,170

- -

-

1,480

1,480

* 2,470

5

2

39

3 6 9

415

Total Non-European

43,944

6,201

3,074

232

1,279

10,786

49,9 2 5

6, 8 37 3, 1 94

268

1,854

12,153

50,188

2,642

1,839

108

453

5,042

WORLD'S TOTAL .

1 43,453 1 4,5 0 7

3, 8 97

1,004

3,524

22,932

133,219

3,696

867

2,107

18,940

138,271

5,145

2,262

329

1,262

8,998

Prospects in 1921.-It may seem paradoxical to speak of possible scarcity at a time (Aug. 1921) when the actual demand for cotton goods seemed almost at a standstill, and the world was apparently over-stocked not only with cotton goods, but also with the raw material. Yet there could be no practical doubt that the world would ere long be seriously short of cotton again; because it could only be a question of time till a return to something like normal conditions of demand would again lead to a consumption of cotton substantially in excess of what the world was producing. The abnormally large carryover which was accumulated during the slump might prevent any scarcity arising within the immediate future, but it could hardly be doubted, unless the world was to face a prolonged period of practical starvation, that the consumption of cotton, which is the cheapest textile in the world for many other purposes besides clothing, could not permanently remain at the low level of 1921. The question was whether, when the demand came again, the supply would be as quick to respond as it was to contract when prices fell. It was extremely unlikely that pre [[Table C]].- World's Consumption of Cotton by Countries and Varieties. (Calculated from the statistics of the International Cotton Federation.) (000's omitted throughout.) *No statistics for China. Estimated total spindles, over I,600,000; consumption in 1920, 690,000 bales of sundries.

war conditions would ever again be reproduced in America. Then the crop was increasing slowly, but on the whole steadily, and in 1914 the actual growth was probably not less than 17 million bales, though this record total never came " into sight " during the season. It was clear that, at anything like the 1921 level of prices, and indeed under almost any conditions which could then be visualized as possible, the world could not look to America to equal that figure again or to resume the pre-war rate of increase. The difficulties in America were the extremely variable climate, the scarcity and high cost of labour, and the reduction of the average yield owing to the spread of the boll weevil; and although the cost of production would probably be substantially reduced again, it would take a price very much higher than the 1921 level to tempt the growers back again from the policy of diversification, which they had been taught since the war, to their old policy of cotton and nothing else.

The basic fact of the situation in 1921 was that prices were substantially below the cost of production, and this was a state of affairs which could not continue. It is true that where so much of the labour - and cotton is essentially a cheap-labour crop - is supplied by the grower himself and his family, they may for a time submit to a reduction of price which will not cover an adequate wage for their labour; but even where mobility of labour is low, as it is in the American cotton belt, such a state of affairs is bound in course of time to have its effect. It did so very strongly during the war when a large quantity of labour left agriculture in the cotton belt for the more highly paid industries in the Southern towns or in the industrial North; and while the subsequent slump had, for the time being reversed this tendency, it was extremely improbable that the South would again become resigned to a permanent lowering of its standard of living, especially as the policy of diversification in itself enabled them to meet this difficulty by supplying many of their requirements from their own land, instead of putting it all under cotton. The probability was, therefore, that it would require a substantially higher price than in pre-war times to induce America to return to her pre-war acreage.

A further point of detail may be noted. Part of the American crop before the war, the Sea Island crop, grown in Florida and Georgia, and on the so-called " Islands " off the coast of South Carolina, was the best cotton in the world, because its staple was the longest and finest; but this crop had by 1920 been virtually wiped out by the advent of the boll weevil in these districts, and the gap thus created would be extremely difficult to fill. The only supply of a similar kind which America could offer was the small crop, of excellent cotton of Egyptian character which had for soe years been growing in Arizona and California, especially in tiie 'alt River Valley in the former state. The crop amounted;' i f 1929 to 92,000 bales grown upon a total area of about 256,o acre but that was largely due to the high prices of 1919-20 a was, no ikely to be repeated. For the very best cotton, therefor tl world was entirely dependent on the West Indian Sea Islan ` crop, which, however, was only about 7,000 bales, against the 'pre-war figure of about ioo,000 from Florida and Georgia.

The supply of fine cotton was still further diminished by the serious reduction of the Egyptian crop, due to several causes, of which the most controversial was the view that drainage had not kept pace with irrigation, leading to a rising " water table " and partial water-logging of the lower zones in the Delta. The ravages of the pink boll worm in recent years had also contributed to the reduction of the average yield, which had become serious even before the war, and still more so since 1914. To counteract this reduction would require very heavy expenditure; and the further development of the Egyptian area was apparently dependent on the execution of large irrigation works, the chief of which, the White Nile Dam, above Khartum, had been begun, though work was suspended in the meantime through lack of funds. The most striking development in Egypt, however, had been the replacing of the original Delta type of cotton (Afifi) by the new longer-stapled variety Sakelarides, the best of which has to some extent taken the place of the lost Sea Island.

In view of the reduction of the Egyptian crop the possible development of the Sudan became of the greatest importance. The Gezira scheme, which was expected to provide the larger part of the crop, was also dependent on large irrigation works on the Blue Nile, in course of construction in 1921. Other parts of the Sudan, such as Tokar, Kassala and certain areas on the Nile north of Khartum, were of considerable promise, but large expenditure on transport and irrigation was still required there, especially for the Tokar and Kassala districts.

Great hopes have been entertained of the development of cotton of the ordinary American inch-staple in India, where it is regarded as relatively long-stapled in comparison with the in. to in. staple cotton which forms the bulk of the Indian crop. This development has had the active support of the Government, who in 1917 appointed a special commission to make a survey of the whole position (see Report of the Indian Cotton Committee, 1919). For many years to come, however, these improved cottons could not hope to form a large part of the total Indian crop. Since the formation of the British Cotton-Growing Association in 1902 attention had therefore been directed to other parts of the Empire, and much pioneer work had been done in proving the possibilities of many districts, especially in Africa. Distinct success has been achieved in West Africa, where the best cotton is of a good American type, and in Uganda and Nyasaland, where varieties akin to the American long-stapled upland have been produced. The development of all these districts was, of course, seriously checked by the war, and subsequently by the high cost of the necessary development works, such as transport. The war also left a great gap in the supply of skilled men of all kinds, whose services were everywhere required for the development of new cotton-fields. Everything depends in the first place on the maintenance of an adequate seed supply, which involves not only the finding of a suitable variety, but also the maintenance of a pure supply. Much had also been done in promoting improved methods of agriculture, in providing the necessary facilities for the ginning, baling, and handling of the crop, and for its marketing at adequate prices, especially in the case of superior varieties. In South Africa also excellent cotton had been grown in small quantities, but the necessary organization of the trade had still to be provided before it could be a success on a large scale. Other foreign Powers with colonies in Africa had also done a great deal for the development of cotton, but up to 1920 the total quantity produced in all these new areas in Africa (outside of Egypt) was relatively small, and the time when Africa could produce a million bales of cotton was still far distant (see Report of the Empire CottonGrowing Committee of the Board of Trade, Cmd. 523, 1920).

In Australia there was little doubt that cotton could be successfully grown, either by rainfall or under irrigation; but there were problems to be faced with regard to the labour supply as well as the ordinary difficulties of organization.

There are many other countries which could provide large additions to the world's cotton supply if all the necessary conditions of the successful organization of the industry could be secured. Brazil, for example, could undoubtedly yield a very much larger crop than it has ever done (50o,000 bales); but political as well as labour and other economic difficulties are apparently serious. The Argentine is also a country where excellent staple cotton has been grown, but labour seems to be the chief obstacle to its development on a large scale. Many of the other Latin-American countries, especially Mexico, also have great possibilities for cotton-growing. Peru produced a small crop (about 200,000 bales) of excellent staple cotton, a little below Egyptian in value, but much of it better than the staple American upland. The supply of the latter from America itself suffered a severe loss when the boll weevil appeared in the the Mississippi Valley and drove out the old 12 in. long-staple cotton that used to be produced there. Subsequently, however, a great development took place in the production of new staple upland varieties of about 14 in. staple in southern Carolina, the Mississippi Valley and northern Texas; but their total supply probably did not exceed 250,000 bales per annum.

In Asia the chief crops before the war, apart from India, were in China and Asiatic Russia, including Transcaucasia. Statistically, the Chinese crop has always been a mystery, and its amount can only be guessed at about two million bales. The Russian crop had before the war risen rapidly to nearly 12 million bales, part of which was of indigenous varieties similar to the Indian, and the remainder of good American quality; but this crop had been almost wiped out by the war, and it was not likely to recover as long as Russia remained in chaos.

The Cotton Industry.-The growth of the cotton industry throughout the world has already been indicated by the figures of spindleage given in the appended tables. Perhaps the most interesting feature up to 1921 had been the development of the American, Japanese and Indian sections of the trade. The first was largely due to the growth of the Southern mills, which had increased from ten million spindles in 1910 to 15 millions in 1920. In Japan the percentage increase of spindles had probably been greater than in any other country, though the total in 1921 was still comparatively small. The output of the Indian mills had also advanced in recent years, both in quality and quantity; but this unfortunately raised bitter controversy with regard to the Excise duties, which were imposed on the product of Indian mills in 1896 to balance the 32% Customs duty' imposed for Revenue purposes on cotton goods imported into India. In 1917 the import duty was raised to 71% without a corresponding increase in the Excise duty; and in 1921 the differentiation was still further increased by an addition of 32 to the import duty. Table D shows the growth of the Indian cotton industry since 1911.

The facts with regard to the foreign trade of Great Britain in cotton and cotton goods are shown in Table E (See p. 769).

Date.

Males.

Females.

Total.

1907

218

359

577

July 1914

274

415

689

Nov. 1918. .. .

144

349

493

July 1920. .. .

218

396

614

_Nov. 1920.. .

211

376

587

Number of Operatives.-In Table F are given the latest figures obtainable in 1921 as to the number of British operatives engaged in the cotton trade since the date of the Census of Production in 1907: [[Table F]].-Numbers employed (in thousands). The controversial question of the employment of half-timers in the trade moved a step forward in England by the Education Act of 1918, which provided for their gradual abolition.

Wages.-With regard to wages, the outstanding feature of the British cotton industry was for many years the excellent organization both of masters and men, as the result of which wage disputes in the trade have, ever since the famous Brooklands Agreement of 1893, been reduced to a minimum. It is 1 Both duties were originally 5% in 1894.

perhaps also due to this organization that, as a class, the cotton operatives of Lancashire are the most highly skilled, and enjoy the highest standard of living, of any section of the industry throughout the world.

Men.

Lads and

Boys.

Women.

Girls.

All

Workpeople.

26s 9d

11s6d

18s8d

iosid

19s 7d

Dates.

Cotton Spinning.

Cotton

Weaving.

Bolton List.

Oldham List.

Uniform List.

List Prices.

List Prices.

List Prices.

End of 1906

5

5

1907 and 1908

10

IO

-

1909 to 1911

5

5

-

1912 and 1913

5

5

5

July 1914

5

5

5

June 1915

10

10

5

Jan. 1916

10

10

10

June 1916

15

15

10

Jan. 1917

1 5

15

15

Feb. 1917

2 5

25

15

J uly 1917

25

25

25

Dec. 1917

4 o

4 0

40

June 1918*

65

65

65

Dec. 1918

+115

+115

+115

July 19191"

+145

+145

+145

May 1920

+215

+215

+215

June 1921

+155

+155

+155

Dec. 1921

+145

+145

+145

In the Report (1909) by the Board of Trade in England into the Earnings and Hours of Labour of workpeople in the Textile Trades in 1906 (Cd. 4545) the average wages earned in the cotton trade for a full working-week were given as follows: The total wages bill for a full week at that time was £512,000 and the total number of operatives employed 523,030. It was also calculated that in 1906 the average annual earnings per head in the cotton trade were about £48. The number of hours constituting a full working-week at that time was 552. Wages in the cotton trade in the United Kingdom are calculated on the basis of certain standard lists, the chief of which are known as the Bolton List and the Oldham List for cotton-spinning, and the Uniform List for cotton-weaving. In 1906 the wages actually paid were 5% above list prices for the Bolton and Oldham Lists and list prices for the Uniform List. Table G shows the changes since that date: [[Table G]].-Changes in Wages of Cotton Operatives, 1906-21. * From June to to Aug. 3 1918 the bulk of the operatives were working 40 hours, and from Aug. 3 to Oct. 26 451 hours, in place of the normal 552 hours per week. `?

t In July 1919 the week was reduced. f ro r 552 hours to 48.

The changes made in wages dun, hie. war and since are described in Henderson's History of the 60tton Control Board above cited, from which the figures jfi. the gtiove lists since July 1914 have been taken.

TABLE D.-Indian Cotton Industry, 1911-21.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Cotton And Cotton Industry'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/bri/c/cotton-and-cotton-industry.html. 1910.

1911-2

1912-3

1913-4

1914-5

1915-6

1916-7

1917-8

1918-9

1919-20

1920 -1

Number of Mills.. .

258

266

264

255

267

267

269

264

Number of Spindles .

6,427

6,495

6,621

6,598

6,676

6,670

6,614

6,J91

Number of Looms.. thousands

87.6

91.6

96.7

103.3

108.4

1 io

8

114.8

116.1

Number of Employees .

237

259

261

260

292

277

284

290

Cotton consumed: bales. .

2,050

2,096

2,143

2,103

2,198

2,198

2,086

2,014

Yarn produced: lb.. i

625

688

683

652

722

681

661

615

636

660

Goods produced: lb.

267

285

274

277

352

378

3$1

350

384

367

Yarn exports: lb... millions

151

204.

198

134

160

169

122

64

152

83

Piece goods exports: yd. l

81

87

89

67

113

264

189

149

197

Piece goods imports: yd.

2,428

2,986

3,159

2,419

2,118

1,892

1,523

1,097

1,064

1,491

Classification of Yarns spun in India.

Nos. I to 2

617

591

661

608

578

538

564

592

Nos. 26 to 40 million lb.

62.7

58.4

59.2

68.5

76.3

72.0

67.9

65.6

Nos. over 40

3.4

2.2

2.0

4.6

5.8

4.8

3.6

2.1

Classification of Yarns imported.

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