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Cloth Dresser - Machine or Hand Tools, 1841

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Hi All

Would a cloth dresser still use hand tools in 1841 or would they most likely work in a mill as a machine operative?

William Pitchforth was described as a cloth dresser in 1791 on his marriage register, so I have been assuming that he would have worked in a cropping shop using traditional hand tools.

William lived in Fixby, close to Huddersfield when he was married and his place of abode on his death register is Cowcliffe, Fixby.

He lived in the area of the Luddite rebellion of 1812 - so interesting.

On the 1841 census his address is Cowcliffe in Fixby and he still named his occupation as a cloth dresser.

I have read, that by 1820, after the introduction of the shearing frame, few cloth dressers could find work within the woolen industry in England.

However, I have also read information to the contrary - that cropping frames were only applied to cheaper woolen cloth and that fancy woolens were still finished with hand tools in cropping shops, up to the 1860's.

Could anyone suggest if William would have remained working as a traditional cloth dresser or would he be a machine operative in a mill in 1841.

Thanks so much
Karen
 

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