Mill Times Book Reviews


Lyddie by Katherine Paterson

     Lyddie is a story of work ethic, love, and the fact that money can't buy happiness. Lyddie is a thirteen year old farm girl who takes care of her younger brothers and sisters. Times are tough, and to pay off debts on their farm, Lyddie's mother sends Lyddie to work as a servant in a tavern, and her younger brother Charles to work in a mill. Lyddie hates working in the tavern, where she must work all day for only 50 cents a week. After hearing glorious tales of mill life and of all of its benefits, Lyddie decides to take a chance and head to the mill in Concord, where she hopes she will be able to earn more money and support her mother and siblings. After a long and strenuous coach ride, Lyddie arrives at the boardinghouse, where she finds that she is to share a room with three other girls. Lyddie falls asleep in a bed she must share hoping that the next day will bring money and luck.
      Lyddie awakens the next day to the sound of the bell which wakes up all mill girls. After a hearty breakfast, Lyddie starts work under the watchful eye of Mr. Marsden, the overseer. The machinery is deafening, and Lyddie can barely hear a girl named Diana as she teaches Lyddie how to operate her loom. However, Lyddie soon catches on to the basics: the more cloth she makes, the more money she recieves. Lyddie comes to respect Diana's patience and kindness untill she hears rumors from the other girls that Diana is part of a movement that is petitioning the mill for shorter hours among many other wrongs. Lyddie learns that if she becomes caught up with Diana, she could potentially be dismissed. So Lyddie loses herself in her work, becoming more machine than human, and quickly becoming the best weaver in her room. However, mill life takes its toll on Lyddie, and she becomes exausted, barely able to keep her eyes open as she struggles laboriously through Oliver Twist. Being tired has its dangers in mill life also; one day Lyddie is grazed in the temple by a flying bobbin. The only thing that keeps Lyddie going is the prospect of filling up her bank account, with which she hopes to pay off the debts on her farm and reunite her family.
        However, reality comes in the form of Lyddie's younger sister, Rachel. Rachel was delivered to Lyddie at the mill because Lyddie's mother was no longer mentally capable of taking care of her. Lyddie now has to cope with taking care of Rachel, who will not speak, and working 12-13 hours a day in the mill. To add extra income to Lyddie's paycheck, Lyddie has Rachel work as a bobbin girl in the mill. One night soon after Rachel came, Lyddie  wakes up to the sound of a hacking cough and realizes it is Rachel. With a heavy heart Lyddie sends Rachel to stay with Charlie, where Lyddie hopes Rachel will have clean air to breathe and hopefully get an education. Lyddie attempts to fill the hole in her heart left by Rachel by busying herself with teaching a new mill girl, Brigid, how to operate the machinery and also how to read. When Lyddie leaves the mill after it closes one day, she realizes that Brigid is not beside her. She returns to the weaving room to find that Mr. Marsden, the overseer, is trying to kiss Brigid. Lyddie shoves a bucket over Mr. Marsden's head, and runs from the room dragging Brigid behind her. 
       Lyddie knew that her position was in danger. She had attacked an overseer, and she knew that she would be dismissed. However, Lyddie felt no ties the mill anymore. Diana had left, all of Lyddie's roomates had left, and Lyddie was hoping to go to college. So when the head of the mill called Lyddie into his office to dismiss her, Lyddie only felt anger. She was one of the best weavers, and she was being dismissed because she stood up for her friend. She cornered Mr. Marsden later that night and warned him that if he tried to fire Brigid, his wife would find out what he had done. With this last statement, Lyddie leaves the mill that had been her life and soul from the age 13 to 15.
       I thought Lyddie was an okay read. I felt that it portrayed an acurate description of mill life and the hardships faced by the girls working there. I really enjoyed how the author described the girls and how Lyddie changed while working in the mills. However, I felt that Lyddie was not a very realistic character. If I could change one thing about the book, I would make Lyddie more emotional. I feel that it would add some spice to the book. I would recommend Lyddie to anyone interested in how mill life affects a young girl.

                                                                By Casey Osborne

Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop

     Counting on Grace tells a story of independance, belif, and fighting for your rights. Grace is a 12 year old who lives in a mill town in Vermont. Grace attends the mill school, but she longs to work in the mill where her sister is a doffer, her mother has 6 looms, and her dad used to work as a mechanic before he got injured.One day, the overseer, known as "French Johnny",  enters the shcool to to remove Arthur, a friend of Grace's, to work in the mill. When Grace back talks to her teacher, Miss Lesley, about Arthur going to the mill, she is thrown out with Arthur. Grace may be excited to go to work in the mill the next day as a bobbin girl, but Arthur despises the mill. He wants to stay in school, but he has to help out his mother because his father died and his mother is falling behind on the bills. Grace uses a fake birth certificate that says she is 14 so she enter the mill, and her first day of work begins.
      However, working in the mills is not what Grace expected. She is pushed to her physical limit all day long, but her mother is forever dissapointed in her no matter how hard she tries to keep up. After a long week of work, it is wonderful to have Sunday off, and Grace is happy to no longer be on her feet. She uses her free time to drop in on Miss Lesley, her old teacher. Grace finds Miss Lesley secretly giving Arthur private lessons. When Grace asks if she can join, Miss Lesley tells Grace that they are also writing to the National Child Labor Commitee, informing them that there are underage childern working in the mills.There are strict laws about underage workers, but many mills don't follow the rules. Arthur hopes that if the NCLC recieves his letter, he will be able to go back to school. Grace decides to help them, and returns every Sunday to recieve lessons on arithmetic, grammar, and handwriting. Grace finds these lessons to be a much needed break from working at the machines and comes to love the private lessons.
    The longer Grace works in the mill, the more she comes to hate it and wishes that she could go back to school. She is slow at doffing because her mind is quick to wander, causing her mother to ruin many pieces. Grace is about to give up when a photographer comes. He says he is a journalist, but he is really an undercover agent for the NCLC , taking pictures of the underage children in Grace's mill. He reveals his secret identity to Grace, and asks her to inform him about the underage children. He also takes a photo of all the underage childern to show the board.He leaves with his breifcase filled with pictures and promises of retrobution. Sadly, before he can return, Arthur's hand gets caught in the machinery and he loses two fingers. Because he is no longer able to work in the mill, Arthur and his mother leave because she can no longer pay the rent. Miss Lesley is fired because she protested at the dismissal of Arthur and his mother. Grace is left with a choice; take the job of subsitute teacher Miss Lesley has offered her and prepare to take a test that would certify her as a teacher, or stay with mill life, the only life she has ever known. After much thought, Grace approaches her mother and asks her opinion. Grace's mother is upset to lose Grace as a doffer, but knows that Grace was never meant for mill work. With her mother's blessing, Grace takes the job and begins her new life as a subsitute teacher.        
        I really enjoyed this book. Grace was an interesting character to watch develop because she learned important lessons over the course of the book. I felt that Counting on Grace provided me with an accurate representation of family mill life, and really helped me understand how much families depended on even the smallest members to pull a profit. If I could make any changes, I would suggest developing Arthur's character a bit more. The author seems to focus on one passion of his throughout the book: his love of reading. Counting on Grace was a wonderful book and I would reccomend it to anyone interested in mill life from a young girl's point of view.

                                                                      By Casey Osborne

The Bobbin Girl: Summary

      The Bobbin Girl is about a girl named Rebecca Putney. Rebecca works in the mills to support her struggling family. She gets up every day at 4:30 a.m. and starts work by 5:30 a.m. Her only job is to replace full bobbins with empty ones. Sometimes she would sneak away when she wasn’t needed, and read a book given to her by her friend Judith. When Rebecca went to see Judith in her spinning room one day, another girl, Ruth, started coughing so hard that she couldn’t breathe. The lint in the air had gotten to her. Judith ran over to support her, and argued angrily when the overseer told them to get back to work. The girls at the boardinghouse are afraid that Ruth has a lung disease.
       The next day, a shuttle that flew off a loom knocks out Ruth. Ruth is fired, and not allowed in any other mills. A friend of Judith’s tells everyone that the mill owners plan to cut wages by fifteen percent. The girls revolted at this, and decided to meet during dinner the next day. Some girls wanted to rebel, and some wanted to keep working. Judith is fired for organizing the meeting, and Rebecca decides to turn out with her and the other girls, leading the whole work force of spinning room #2 outside. Judith gives a speech about how girls shouldn’t have to work harder for reduced wages. Rebecca finds her preparing to leave, and Judith makes her promise to take her place.
      I didn’t really like the book. It was for kids who are like half my age. But, I think younger kids would like it, because it was easy to understand what was going on and had some cool pictures. Anyone who likes short picture books about mill girls should enjoy reading this.
By Cooper Jordan

    Bread and Roses, Too: Summary

      I read Bread and Roses, Too, by Katherine Paterson. It’s about a girl named Rosa and a boy named Jake. Rosa lives with her mother, sister, and the Jarusalie family in a small apartment. Jake lives with his abusive father in a run-down old house. Money is tight for both families, but Jake has it worse. His father doesn’t work, and the strike against the mills prevents Jake from working. This, and the fact that his father beats him daily, forces Jake to steal and sleep in piles of trash for warmth.
     Nearly all of the mill workers are striking against the owners because of proposed pay cuts and increased hours. Rosa’s mother and sister are often part of the marches in which strikers meet to protest. She is constantly attempting to dissuade them from participating, afraid that they will be beaten, shot, or thrown in jail. Rosa finds Jake in a pile of garbage while looking for shoes that she hid. Jake helps her find them, so Rosa lets him sleep in their kitchen. Rosa stops going to school because the huge crowds of strikers make her nervous. A woman is shot during one of the marches. The strikers decide to send the children away somewhere safe until the strike is over.
main.php that he would be arrested, Jake joins Rosa on the train to Barre, Vermont. Rosa agrees to pretend Jake is her brother. They are sent to live with and old man and his wife. Rosa goes to school, and Jake goes with Mr. Gerbati (the old man) to work. The Gerbatis’ receive word that Rosa’s mother and sister are in jail. Everyone is outraged, and everyone from the strike that was arrested was released from jail. Jake tries to steal money from Mr. Gerbati’s vault, intending to run away before the police realized that his father was dead. Mr. Gerbati catches him, and Jake decides to tell the truth. A telegraph comes, saying that Billy Wood, a mill owner, finally agrees to the demands of the strikers. Other mill owners quickly follow suit. Rosa is sent back to her family, and Jake stays to live with the Gerbatis.
I thought this book was okay. It had an accurate impression on what most kids must have gone through back then, and how it affected everyone. I’d recommend it to any people who like historical fiction.
By Cooper Jordan


The Belles of New England

By William Moran

          Before the summarization of The Belles of New England, you should have some background information of the organization of the book. Though it is in chapter book format, it is non-fiction. It’s smaller than a textbook but filled with many details and, in plain English, words. This makes for a very dense read because of the high concentration of information. Every chapter is separated out into its own section really, because they all pertain mainly to one subject area. The information is, however, extremely useful and detailed. Each chapter is told from one point of view, may that be an Irish immigrant, mill owner, or women working in the mills, this leads to an even perspective on every topic. I like to think of the book as almost a collection of newspaper articles because Mr. William Moran was a journalist for most of his career.

            The first chapter is an overview and introduction to the Industrial Revolution and women working in the mills. Francis Cabot Lowell’s story of bringing machinery to the United States similar to the ones he saw in England is told. With the opening of the mills, he attracted a plethora or women, child, men, and immigrant workers. This chapter contains numerous quotes analyzing the Industrial Revolution as a whole. In this lengthy introductory chapter, they also tell the womens’ feelings after leaving the mills. They believed that they now had rights similar to men and that they were more than welcome to do the same things like vote and attend college. Clearly, Francis Cabot Lowell didn’t realize the impact he would have on politics when he re-created English mills in New England.

            In the second chapter, we begin to learn about the early days of the mills through the girls who worked in them. The farmers’ daughters hear of the city mills, the glamorous mill girls, and the money they made that was more than they could ever dream of making while staying on the farm. Little did these ladies know, they were forever cementing themselves in the history of the American labor movement when they packed their few belongings and headed to the unfamiliar cities and mills.

            William Moran takes the opposite side now for chapter three and tells us of the “Lords of the Loom.” The rich Boston Associates that invested in and owned the mills often referred to themselves as that. These rich, highly educated, and powerful men were behind the monstrous mills. This chapter paints for the reader the formation and duration of the mills by including many details on the Lords of the Looms and their families as well as the public’s opinion of them and the times they lived through. Not all the men were selfish and money-thirsty and the only thing more interesting than the differences between them was their twisted family tree. Many of them married into each other’s families, and this lead to very interesting relationships between the wealthy men.

            Chapter four tells us all about the Irish workers who immigrated from their deteriorating country. After the potato famine swept over Ireland, it left many jobless and starving people. When they immigrated to America and got jobs in the mills, it seemed like such a blessing. They worked for lower wages and lived in their own section of the mill towns that consisted of many shacks that sometimes housed multiple families. The Americans hated the Irish immigrants for taking their jobs and there was much discrimination against the newcomers. The catastrophe the Irish lived through was the collapse of Pemberton Mill. That day, 65 women and 23 men died and 275 workers were seriously injured and most were Irish immigrants.

            The Quebecois heard of the need for mill workers and immigrated south. As they left, family followed them as well as churches. The French tried to keep themselves separate from other employees of the mills and referred to themselves as Franco-Americans. They formed their own mini cultures to try to soothe their homesick hearts by staying true to their heritage, but many Franco-Americans struggled with adopting American ways and staying true to their French roots. Many other ethnic groups followed suit and came to work in the mills as well. The other immigrants brought with them little pieces of their heritage and homes as well until mill towns were melting pots. The increased immigration caused the formation of a Klu Klux Klan, which targeted Catholics, Jews, and the new immigrants. In Brunswick, Maine a Diphtheria epidemic killed more than 70 people because of the neglect with sanitation in the mills. In chapter six, the immigrants band together somewhat in forms or protest against lowered wages, increased speed of the machines, and mill condition and working hours.

            Chapter seven, Fighting for Roses, is when the women and immigrants truly join forces to organize the great 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. This chapter includes  many rich details, facts and figures, quotes, and reactions from many different involved parties. The information is mostly about the strong woman who came together to fight for what they believed they deserved and how they achieved success. There is also much reflection, going back to Francis Cabot Lowell and how much has changed since the formation of his first mill.

             In the final chapter, Last Bells, we hear of the fall on the New England mills. At last, throughout the 1900s the mills close in New England as mill owners moved their corporations south to where the cotton was grown. The invention of the steam engine meant the mills no longer needed to be located on the mighty rivers of New England so it no longer made sense to keep the mills there. William Moran tells about the effects of the mills leaving New England, and though there was an unimaginable amount of controversy with the mills, the people of New England depended on them and they were a part of them and their heritage. Their families had formed a new life in America with the mills and now they were all out of jobs.

            The Belles of New England is, in truth, a very difficult book for our grade level. I had to put in a lot of concentration and hours to read and comprehend it front to cover. However, though it is aimed at the general public or high school level and beyond, The Belles of New England  proves itself to be a great reference book and if you were looking for information on one subsection of the Industrial Revolution, I would definitely recommend it. The pages are filled with great detail and lots of research was clearly put into the writing of this book. As I mentioned earlier, each chapter in a subsection of the book within itself, so it viewed them as a collection of articles almost. William Moran also talked about a wide variety of mills, from Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts to Maine and Rhode Island. After having read this book, I feel I have a bounty of knowledge on the Industrial Revolution, the people involved, and the mills.
                                     By Emily Grussing

Working in the First Factories
By Christ opher Sharp
Illustrated by Ginette Hoffman

In an almost complete contrast to my previous book, I read Working in the First Factories.  This book is a fictional picture book rather than reference non-fiction.

            Louise is a 9-year-old girl whose father is a coal-miner during the industrial Revolution. Her two older brothers work in the blast furnace and on an assembly line. Louise’s father becomes involved in a strike after men are trapped in a mineshaft collapse. The miners want to petition for a safer work environment and refuse to work until their demands are met. This book is completely about mining, black furnaces, and assembly lines so you may be wondering about the connection with this book and the mills.

            In Working in the First Factories, they talk briefly of women and children’s involvement in the mines. Louise’s mother used to work in the mines but gave it up when she began her family. The children in the mines could be as young as six and would crawl though the lowest galleries (mined tunnels) and would push or pull trams loaded with coal. If they lost their strength or concentration for one moment, they ran the risk of being crushed by the heavy trams. Similar to the children in the mills, they worked long hard hours in dangerous conditions that affected their respiratory health. Adults should have done the work, but the children and their families were plagued by deep poverty and that minimal payment decided life or death for them. 
             The men, women, and children working in the mines also were discontented with the working conditions and wanted shorter work hours and safer conditions. Though the mine mangers can't do much after the dangerous fumes and air fragments  in the galleries, they could shorten the work hours and take safety precautions so another accident like the one that happened to Louise's father's coworkers didn't happen again. Both of the industries carried out strikes where they refused to go to work. These strikes stopped production and cost their manager money and time. The strikers hoped this would be a good way to convey their message and receive the treatment they thought they though they deserved.

            Coal also had a huge impact on the mills in general. While the mills were producing yarn and cloth, miners were harvesting coal that was to be used as fuel in boilers. The mills needed to be kept at high temperatures at all times to prevent breakage of the strings so windows were nailed shut for summer and during the winter the buildings (with the exception of the staircases located outside the mill building) were heated. The heat came from the boilers that were often fueled by coal.

         The invention of the steam engine of course had a hug impact on the Industrial Revolution. Now the mills could have the power anywhere and many mills moved down south to where the cotton was grown to save the money and time of shipping it to New England. For mills with steam engines, they could still operate with steam power when backwater would have normally effected their production if they were running on waterpower. The steam engines heated water with the boiler that was fueled by coal, to produce the steam.

         As you can see, without coal and miners there wouldn’t be any mills. The two industries coexisted and provided for each other. The mills produced the cloth the miners wore and the miners produced coal for the mills to run. Without coal and miners, we may have never had steam engines, which would mean we might still have mills all over New England and no trains. It’s inexpressible the impact coal had on mills.   

            I found Working in the First Factories, even for a picture book, very informative. It is divided into chapters or more segments, and at the beginning of each segment there are a few paragraphs of background knowledge about mining or factories. I found the illustrations absolutely beautiful and though the story line wasn’t particularly interesting, the information woven into the story of young Louise is very interesting and helpful. This book also offered detailed and labeled illustrations of machines and the galleries underground to further my understanding of the content. I also think that it’s very important to understand the connection between mining and the mills because they were both big contributers to the Industrial Revolution. Doing this project and reading Lyddie may have many of my peers thinking about just the mills and forgetting the other industries that were thriving during that time.  Working in the First Factories is a fun and easy read that will broaden your horizons about the Industrial Revolution and also have you interested in machinery used in factories and how it worked.
                                     By Emily Grussing


                                               Mill, by David Macaulay

  When I first opened the cover of Mill, by David Macaulay, I thought “Oh great, one more long, boring book to read. This is going to take forever!” but as I began reading, I realized that this book was neither long nor boring! Mill is stuffed full of information of all kinds, about topics such as how the mills worked, how they were built, and how they changed throughout the 1800’s. It has pictures, diagrams, labels, and lots of other things that helped me to understand what I was reading. The book focuses on four mills in particular, all located in an imaginary town called Wicksbridge. These four mills, although also imaginary, are wonderful and creative, and serve as great tools for informing people about mill times.

            The first mill Macaulay introduced was the Yellow Mill. Some of the information contained in the Yellow Mill chapter was how a typical mill was designed, how water wheels and power trains worked, (power trains were a series of gears and pulleys that connected machines throughout the factory to the water wheel), how raceways (man-made canals which water flowed through to power the mill) were designed and what they were used for, how dams were built, and many, many smaller details. The information in this chapter is more basic, and as the book moves on to other chapters it gets into greater complexity and detail.

            The second chapter, about the Stone Mill, focuses on mostly the same topics as the chapter about the yellow mill, just in greater detail. One thing this chapter introduces is the fly ball governor, which is explained in great detail. The fly ball governor is basically a device, which regulates water flow and the opening and closing of gates based on the amount of power the machines needed. Also introduced in this chapter is the power loom (a weaving machine), and Macaulay explains how that works as well.

            The third chapter is about the Plimpton Mill. One of the major things introduced in this chapter was the water-powered turbine, which replaced the water wheel. The water powered turbine is a curved tube, with an open end through which water enters, and the other end has a metal water wheel, which is also controlled by a fly ball governor. The rest of the chapter goes into much greater detail about things like power trains, how the walls of the mill were built, the purpose of the new dam, and other construction related things.

            Finally comes a mill Macaulay called the Harwood Mill, a “completely modernized” mill. This chapter goes into a lot of detail about the architechture of the mill and the surrounding area. It is the only mill in the book to have a whole village like structure connected to it, and it has a different type of roof, among other things. It also describes the small as well as major changes and differences from the other three mills to this mill, such as the steam engine, and small changes to the construction of the power train. The steam engine, which is powered by steam and controlled by a fly ball governor, eventually replaces water power as the primary energy source for these mills.

            Not only is this book full of information and is a great resource, it was also enjoyable to read. It has some really cool pictures, as well as interesting diagrams, and although it looks like a huge book, its really not. The text only takes up a very small portion of the pages, and each page always gets right to the point.

            So if you have to learn about mills or mill times, or even if you’re just interested in the subject, read Mill, by David Macaulay, and I guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for.
By Ross Orsucci


A New Order of Things: How the Textile Industry Changed New England

Last night I read this book, entitled A New Order of Things, and as I opened the first page, I expected to find much the same material as I had found in Mill, by David Macaulay. I was surprised to find that although this book was about the same subject as Mill, it contained almost completely different information.

The first five chapters of the book all focused on the local textile industry, not just the factories. They emphasized the importance of home-spun and home-woven materials, and how although the factories were much more efficient, these home-made custom fabrics did not disappear until a much, much later time. Even as the Factories all across New England were in full swing, and making money by the cart full, these local industries didn’t give up.

The local Industries were usually made up of a network of houses, where families did their part, and then passed the material on. It was not uncommon for a woman to be found sitting at someone else’s loom, (a loom that did not belong to the owners of the house it was in), weaving someone else’s thread. This was common because wealthier families with looms often hired workers to weave cloth for them and get a small portion of the pay. Through these small home businesses sprang a larger and more complex network of home weavers, who struggled to keep up with the ever expanding factories.

Another subject these five chapters dwelled on was all of the machines used at home to prepare yarn, and to later make cloth. One of these machines was the carding machine, made mostly of wood, that you ran by turning a crank at one end and feeding in cotton at the other end. Another machine mentioned was the spinning wheel. This you ran by feeding yarn in at one end, and spinning the wheel. This caused the yarn to be pulled through the narrow space given for it, and to be pulled out into thread.

These chapters, although somewhat dull, did teach me some things. First of all, I learned that the textile industry wasn’t just factories. Far from it. Next, I learned that the factories weren’t created because some guy said, "Hey, look at this cool machine I built," but they were created to create farther independence from Great Britain. And finally, I learned why the industrial revolution was called, well, the industrial revolution. It wasn’t some new inventions and ideas that lead Americans to seemingly abandon their traditions. It was the importance of shifting dependancy from foreign goods. The industrial revolution was, or at least I believe it was, America’s last step to becoming a truly free country.

Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 all focus on more or less the same thing: the machines that were used in the factories. Chapter 6 is basically just an introduction as to why the people of New England decided to switch to using machines instead of homemade products. However, all of these machines did have a hand operated version, and local industry continued to exist, as well as produce a good percentage of the total cloth New England produced.

Chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10 focus on the machines themselves. Each chapter told about the introduction of each machine, as well as how it was incorporated into New England industry and how it spread throughout the region.

Chapter 7 talked about the power loom, or rather, two different power looms. These two power looms were the Waltham Power Loom and the "Scotch" or "Crank" loom, created by William Gilmore. The Scotch Loom, being the finer of the two looms, was soon much more commonly used than the Waltham Loom. Despite the Scotch Loom’s superiority over all other American looms, it was still limited as to what it could produce. It couldn’t make any patterns or designs; it could only make "grey goods."

Chapter 8 was focused around water power. It included information about water wheels, such as how they worked and how they were used, but it also included some information about water rights problems. These problems included backwater issues, as well as the flooding of other mills through dam building. This was a fairly short chapter and didn’t include much other information.

Chapter 9 was the one chapter out of these four "machine" chapters that was not technically a machine. However, I count it as a machine, for it works like one. The subject in question is Lowell, Mass. Although Lowell is a town, and not a machine, it was designed to work as ergonomically as any town could possibly work. Everything was placed specifically for a reason, just like a machine. Every man, woman, or child, had a specific purpose, even those who didn’t work. For example, the men who didn’t work in the factories worked on farms, so as to feed the city.

Chapter 10, the last "machine" chapter, was more about fashion than machines. This chapter was all about printing blocks and printing rollers. It explained briefly how the two subjects worked, and then went on to explain their place in society. It told about how the New England public gradually switched from purchasing mainly "grey goods" to purchasing mainly fancy and fashionable fabrics.

These fancier fabrics eventually led to New England starting to catch up to England in the fine cloth production department. Chapter 11 is about exactly that. When the people of New England began to adopt fine fabric and make it the norm, there needed to be a wealthier version of clothing for, well, the wealthy. The factories began to produce fine woolen "broadcloth", which is a fancy way of saying expensive clothes, and soon, these expensive clothes were indeed comparable to British imports.

In order to produce these new, finer fabrics, the factories needed new, finer machinery. These machines are the subject of chapter 12. Through a good deal of time, New England’s inventors created "The woolen machinery family." This "family" consisted of three "siblings", Jenny, Jack, and Billy. These were nicknames for three advanced forms of three very basic machines. "Jenny" was simply a spinning jenny, just more ergonomically designed. "Jack" was simply a big machine that wrapped spun thread onto giant spools. Finally, "Billy" was just a more efficient version of a typical carding machine. Jenny and Billy were both hand operated, but Jack was run by water power, and later steam power.

As factories grew and became more common, New England farmers started to depend more on the factories than they did on their farms. Chapter 13 goes into great detail about this process. Soon, it was not uncommon for a man to send his wife and daughters to go work in the factories. At first, it was not uncommon for the man to work in the factory as well.

Soon, however, the majority of factory workers were women, and the men had continued to tend their farms, or get more important jobs than factory worker, just as they always had. Chapters 14 and 15 focus on this subject, as well as how rules and privileges changed how women viewed themselves. Factory rules got more strict, and the conditions started to get worse, because the factory owners thought the women couldn’t do anything about it. As it turned out, they were wrong. The workers, most of whom were women, protested against these unfair conditions. They also went on strikes and signed petitions. One of their major accomplishments was forming the Female Labor Reform Association, or FLRA for short. The goal of the FLRA was to shorten work days to ten hours, and this was known as the Ten Hour Movement.

Women finally realized that the factories weren’t a good place for them, and began to move back to more rural lives. When this happened, the factories had a lot of open spaces, and filled these spaces with immigrants from poor countries, such as Ireland and French-Canada. Chapter 16 tells all about this. The factory owners knew that since the conditions in their countrieswere so horrible, he could put the immigrants in horrible environments, with terrible pay, and they wouldn’t mind in the least.

And finally, chapters 18 and 19 tell all about the steam engine. These chapters explain how the new steam engines promote textile manufacture, as well as how they affect machinery in the New England. The steam engine gave mill owners many more options than they had before. For example, they could put the factory absolutely anywhere they wanted, without the possibility of flooding, backwater problems, or water rights lawsuits. The four new machines that were introduced along with the steam engine were speeders, pickers, mules, and locomotives.

Although this book was full of potentially useful information, the text was very dense, and it was very dry and dull. Between this book and Mill, I would choose Mill hands down any day.