“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. This again, a job that is not seen as skilled labor or real “work.” In the last post, we talked about women doing domestic labor inside the home. This was a job that was actually done outside of the physical house. These spinning mills increased supply of woven goods. This eventually replaced the need of all women having to do this work, because they were able to buy them from someone else. This further depreciated the value of women’s labor.

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



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