People made the earliest textiles for clothing and dwellings. Then textiles became a necessary article of commerce and trade among the peoples of the world. The trade grew and flourished - from China through India, over the Arabian desert to the ports of Egypt and Turkey, and across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. Caravans took beautiful silk brocades, cotton calicoes, gauzes, and the fine linens to Europe. Local artisans learned how to make them.
During the time of the Industrial Revolution, machinery advanced the industry further. A spinning frame could spin great quantities of yam without the help of skilled workers. A machine loom could reproduce the designs of the famous brocade speedily and cheaply. As a result, the handweavers were angry because the machines had replaced them. Today power looms are in operation throughout the world.
Two major events spurred the textile industry during the 1790s. One was the introduction of spinning machines. The other event was the invention of the cotton gin. It was a device for separating cotton fibres from the sticky cotton seeds at a much greater speed than human hands could match.
As the world population grew, so did the market for textiles. The need arose for inexpensive, all-purpose fabrics and ready-made clothes. More and more mills were built, and the industry developed even more rapidly.
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