SLATER MILL MACHINES
 

In a clothier's shop in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Samuel Slater installed the following machines:
 
 
3 Carding Machines
2 Water Frames
(1 - 24 spindles, 1 - 48 spindles)
1 Carding and Roving Machine
 
 

Within a few years the machinery was moved to a specially built factory.

Listed below are the series of machines in Slater's first American cotton mill:
 
 
Flake Preparing cotton for the card was not done at the mill, but in homes nearby.  The custom then was for women to come to the mill and be given quantities of cotton, called buntings, which they took to their homes to be opened up and cleaned on their flakes.  The flake was a sort of rack or frame, three feet square and about three feet high.  On top of the frame were tightly strung cords or small ropes forming a network of about 1/2 inch mesh.  Cleaning the cotton was done by willow switches, each about three feet long.  From 1/2 pound to a pound of cotton was laid on the flake at a time; a woman then beat the cotton with two willow switches, one in each hand, shaking it up at the same time until it was light and fluffy.  She then stopped to pick out the motes, hulls, or other trash that remained in the cotton, the heavy dirt and seeds generally falling through the ropes onto the floor.  After she had finished her bunting, usually between 10 and 20 pounds of cotton, she took it back to the mill, together with the pickings of trash, where it was examined and reweighed.
Breaker Card The cleaned cotton was fed by hand into the back of the breaker card and emerged at the front by means of the doffer and comb as a thin fleece which was then rolled into a lap.  The lap may have been formed at the card, but most likely the fleece was delivered into a box and then taken to a lap machine.
Lap Machine The lap machine consisted of a table about 20 inches wide, 4 feet long, and 2 1/2 feet high.  The top of the table had side or guide rails, and at one end of the table, and between the guide rails, was mounted a roll or drum.  The fleece was laid on the table from which it was wound around the drum to form a lap.
Finisher Card The lap then went to the finisher card.  The fleece was unrolled and again carded, but this time it was gathered to pass through a round trumpet to form a sliver which was delivered into a can.
Drawing Frame Two or more cans from the finisher card were placed at each delivery of the drawing frame.  This machine consisted of a tablelike frame, supporting two lines of rolls.  The slivers passed through the system of rolls where they were reduced in size and then united into a single sliver which was delivered into a can at the front of the frame.
Lantern or
Can-Roving Frame
After the drawing process, the sliver was further reduced in size to make a thin sliver or roving for the spinning frame.  This was done by the roving frame which was similar to the drawing frame, only the rovings, after passing through the rolls where they were considerably reduced, received a slight twist as they were delivered and coiled into a rotating can.  When the can was full, the coils were removed through a side door in the can and deposited in a "skip" which was taken to the bobbin winding-wheel.
Bobbin Winding-Wheel The bobbin winding-wheel consisted of a frame on which was mounted a large wheel and a horizontal spindle driven by a band or belt from the wheel.  An empty bobbin was placed on the spindle, and as the operator turned the wheel by her right hand, the roving from the skip passed through her left hand, which she moved back and forth, from one end of the rotating bobbin to the other until the bobbin was filled.
Spinning Frame From the winding-wheel, the roving bobbins were placed in the creel of the spinning frame.  This frame consisted of 24 spindles - 12 spindles on each side.  The rovings passed through the roll system and were reduced to the required yarn size, the yarn being wound onto small bobbins by means of flyers.  The yarn was then reeled.
Reel The reeling was done on a machine equipped with a swift consisting of slats held by arms on a shaft rotatable in bearings at the ends of the machine.  The yarns were thus wound into skeins which were sold to stores, who retailed them to weavers for their hand looms.
 

By the turn of the century, more than 100 people worked in the yarn-spinning mill.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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