The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #164243   Message #3928363
Posted By: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
31-May-18 - 09:37 PM
Thread Name: Cotton screwing songs
Subject: RE: Cotton screwing songs
Let's see, there's cotton screwing and then there's screwing cotton and then there's screwing the Cotton Screwmen.

One screw shy here: Norris Cuney - (Colored Screwmen's Benevolent Association – USA.)

Cotton screwing for baling:

“In 1808, the quantity of cotton brought to Bombay for re-exportation was 85,000 bales, of 735 pounds, the half of which is procured from the country on the Nerbudda and the rest from Cutch and Gujerat. The cotton screw is worked by a capstan, to each bar of which there are 30 men, amounting in the whole to about 240 to each screw. Hemp is packed in the same manner, but it requires to be carefully laid in the press, for the fibres are liable to be broken if they are bent.”

[Hamilton, W., A Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Description of Hindostan and the Adjacent Countries, Vol. II, (London: John Murray, 1820, p.156)]

“Not far from this spot (Bombay gun carriage manufactory) is the extensive cotton-screwing establishment of the Colabah Company. It occupies several large buildings, in some of which the cotton just landed from the pattamars, is deposited. The premises contain twenty-four screws on the ground-floor, each screw being worked with a capstan on the floor above it, by forty naked coolies, who run about shouting, and yelling, with excess of mirth.

The cotton is weighed in scales, 350 lbs. at a time. This is then drawn up to the second floor, and emptied into a broad square iron funnel the size of a bale, at the bottom of which is laid a piece of sacking. At a signal given, the capstan is worked, and the screw, acting with immense power, compresses the cotton into about half its original bulk. Ropes are slipped underneath it to bind it at each end, and it is turned out a compact square bale, which, being sewed and marked, is ready for shipment. Each screw turns out thirty-two bales a day; but, by paying the men extra wages, they can be increased to seventy. Steam, on account of the price of fuel being dearer than manual labour, would not answer so well. There is another cotton-screwing company, whose warehouses are situated in the fort, in Marine Lane, but they are not so extensive as those just described.”

[Bercastle, J., A Voyage to China, Vol. I, (London: William Schoberl, 1850, pp.165-66)]