Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/560

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542
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sand in the same time. This industry is said to surpass all others in the complex ingenuity of its machinery.

One of the machines used in its production is said by Dr. Ure to be as much beyond the most curious chronometer in multiplicity of mechanical device as that is beyond a common roasting-jack.

In 1811, when prices had fallen, a Vandal association at Loughborough paraded the streets at night with their faces covered, and armed with swords and pistols, and, entering the workshops, they broke the machines with hammers; twenty-seven machines were destroyed in Heathcote's factory. In 1816 fifty-five more were destroyed

PSM V08 D560 Machine made lace mesh.jpg
Fig. 14.

by the same society. Of the eight men who conspired in the attack on Heathcote's factory, six were convicted and hung and two transported for life. Heathcote's loss was estimated at $50,000, which the authorities offered to make up to him if he would reëxpend the money in the county. This he refused to do, and the result was that he left Loughborough and settled at Tiverton, where he remained until his death in 1861. Heathcote employed his mechanical skill with unwearied energy in improving the lace-manufacture. From 1824 to 1843 he was constantly busy with inventions, and he represented Tiverton in Parliament from 1834 to 1859.

"Bobbin-net and lace are cleaned from the loose fibres of the cotton by the ingenious process of gassing, as it is called, invented by the late Mr. Samuel Hall, of Nottingham. A flame of gas is drawn through the lace by means of a vacuum above. The sheet of lace passes to the flame opaque and obscured by loose fibre, and issues from it bright and clear, not to be distinguished from lace made of the purest linen thread, and perfectly uninjured by the flame." The progressive value of a square yard of plain cotton bobbin-net is thus stated: In 1809, $25; 1813, $10; 1815, $7.50; 1818, $5; 1821, $3; 1824, $2; 1827, $1; 1830, 50 cents; 1833, 32 cents; 1836, 20 cents; 1842, 12 cents; 1850, 8 cents; 1856, 6 cents; 1862, 6 cents.

In 1823, when Heathcote's patent expired, water and steam power had already began to take the place of hand-labor, and lace-machines rapidly increased in numbers. Men of all ranks and professions, clergymen, lawyers, and doctors, embarked capital in the business, and