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Friday, 16 January 2015

Factory

The world’s first factory was Cromford Mill, a five-storey cotton mill in the Derwent Valley, Derbyshire, England. It was built in 1771 by Richard Arkwright, the father of the factory system. Arkwright then built homes for the textile workers, making Cromford the first company town.

Charles Macintosh patented the waterproof cloth he used to make raincoats in 1823. Macintosh was anxious to protect the secret of his new material so he chose Highland workers to work in his Glasgow factory as they spoke only Gaelic.

Fired by evangelical zeal, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, was instrumental in introducing Parliamentary Acts to alleviate the hard lot of factory workers, many of them children, who had been forced to work long hours in severe working conditions since the beginning of the British Industrial Revolution. In 1833 he championed the Factory Act, which limited teenage children to working no more than 12 hours a day. Eleven years later, the 1844 Factory Act  restricted female workers to a 12-hour day; children between 8 -13 years were limited to 6.5 hours. Shaftesbury finally achieved his objective of the ten-hour work day for adult factory workers when the 1847 Ten Hours Act was passed by parliament.

Carding, roving, and drawing in a Manchester cotton mill c. 1834

America’s first large pasta factory was built in Brooklyn, New York in 1848 by a Frenchman who would spread out his spaghetti strands on the roof to dry in the sunshine.

Joseph C. Gayetty of New York City invented the first factory-produced toilet paper in 1857. He had his name printed on each sheet.

In Victorian England, Colman's of Norwich, famous for its mustard, set up the world’s first factory canteen in 1868. They charged 3d or 4d for a hot meat dinner.

During his time in Switzerland, Lenin lived at a crowded house at Spiegelgasse, Zurich. A nearby sausage factory emitted such an unpleasant whiff that the future communist leader retreated to the Central library as often as possible.

Licensing laws in England and Wales have changed little since 1915, when they were tightened to stop factory workers turning up drunk and harming the war effort.

In 1920 Guglielmo Marconi's Chelmsford factory was the location of the first officially publicised sound broadcasts in the UK, one of them featuring Dame Nellie Melba.

The Ford River Rouge Complex is a 1,100-acre automobile factory complex located in Dearborn, Michigan, along the Rouge River. Construction began in 1917, and when it was completed in 1928 it had become the largest integrated factory in the world.

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,129 people and injuring around 2,500. The eight-story commercial premises housed a garment factory which exported clothing to US and European companies. It was the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history.

 By rijans - Flickr: Dhaka Savar Building Collapse,Wikipedia Commons

Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

A factory in Qiaotou, a dusty town in Zhejiang Province, China manufactures an astonishing 80 per cent of the world's zips, churning out 124,000 miles of zip each year.

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