By Béatrice Craig
This quantity explores the function of ladies in company in nineteenth-century Northern French fabric facilities. Lille and the encircling cities have been then ruled through giant and small kinfolk companies, and plenty of have been run by way of ladies. these girls didn't withdraw into the parlour because the century improved and the ‘separate ideology’ unfold. Neither did they develop into mere determine heads - such a lot have been enterprise folks of their personal rights. but, they've got left nearly no strains within the collective reminiscence, and historians suppose they ceased to exist. This publication hence seeks to respond to 3 interrelated questions: How universal have been these ladies, and what sort of company did they run? What elements facilitated or impeded their actions? and at last, why have they been forgotten, and why has their representations in nearby and educational background been so at extraordinary with truth? not directly, this examine additionally sheds mild at the means of industrialization during this area, and on industrialists’ strategies.
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Additional info for Female Enterprise Behind the Discursive Veil in Nineteenth-Century Northern France
Different fabrics required the use of different heddles, and only merchants could afford to keep an assortment of them. Weavers thus received from the merchants weft yarns and already mounted warps which they placed onto their own loom frame. Preparing warp was women’s work, and this was often done by the merchant’s wife. The fabric was subsequently sent to finishers in Lille for dying, fulling or calendering (Lille had also secured a monopoly on finishing country fabric). It was then sold on the local market or to négociants (wholesale general traders) who sold it on the national or international markets.
Merchants began to use machines to lower costs and resist this competition. The more productive mull-jenny was introduced in the arrondissement at the turn of the century. Machine spinning was an indirect beneficiary of the Revolution. The closing of the convents and the confiscation of aristocratic country houses put on the market buildings large enough to accommodate mechanized workshops. 4 The abolition of the guilds and of privileges of all sorts in 1790 made it possible for a greater number of people to engage in textile production and trade, and more importantly to carry those activities as they saw fit.
Merchant-manufacturers (marchands-fabricants) put out the yarn they had purchased to village and country weavers. By the late eighteenth century, the bulk of country weavers were pieceworkers, who did not even own the most important part of the loom, the heddle (the part through which the warp is threaded). Only in the Lys valley could one still find weavers who purchased their own yarn and sold their linen fabric (toile) on the local markets. The region’s specialization in novelty fabric had made this development almost inevitable.