“The proliferation of carding machines and spinning mills sharply increased the demand for weavers’ services, many of whom were women. The first spinning mill erected at Fall River in the early nineteenth century found the neighboring farm wives already fully employed as weavers for Providence mills” (1)

The article that this quote is pulled from is called “Rocking the Cradle: Downsizing the New England Family” by Gloria L. Main. The article is all about the downsizing of families in New England in the 1780’s. Many couples were waiting longer to have children and having less of them all together. One could say that this “industrializing” women’s work at home. Machines such as the one mentioned above made work more efficient. Efficiency leads to productivity which leads to more money being made as a weaver. A farmers wife would most likely already be doing this job anyways because he would be taking care of the crops and cattle, while she used the vegetation and animal products for her work.

(1) Gloria L. Main, “Rocking the Cradle: Downsizing the New England Family,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 37 (Summer 2006): 55


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Does society view this as actual work? Or since it’s still in the home it’s not considered it a job? Perhaps you could mention your response to these questions in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hhansen5695 says:

    You could also mention how this work did not lessen the other domestic work that the women had to do, but instead added to her already heavy workload of taking care of the home and raising the children once they decided to have them.


  3. mlucas426 says:

    You could mention how these machines eventually replaced women making things at the home since they could just buy them already made. Use this to talk about how women’s work was further degraded and seen as less valuable because of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. embartra says:

    Michael, John, and Clarissa all make good comments here. How does this show a change from the framing of women’s work in the previous selection? I wonder too if there might be a more evocative quote from the article to use here.


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