In Hand and Machine Knitting

Data on productivity norms are given in part in rules for guild journeymen or manufacture workers, in part, however, they can be calculated from annual, monthly or weekly reports on the actual production volume of a given workshop. The accuracy of these norms are fairly reliable, since wages were calculated on their basic, the latter more realistically take into account all sorts of standstills in production. Detailed norms pertaining to the production of various knitted garments in the hand-knitters' guilds of Austria, Hungary and Moravia from 1747 are given in the rules for journeymen. We should remember that it was a peak period for hand-knitting development in this region, prior to the introduction of the knitting machine. A journeyman had to make within a week: "two shirts with lining (Futterhemdber) on thick needles (if the product exceeded the required weight, the master was losing money) or 3 pairs of stockings, or 5 pairs of five-fingered gloves on thick needles, as the ones for making berets, or 8 pairs of socks with one finger or mittens (Fausthandschuh)". A journeyman exceeding the weekly norm was entitled to a higher payment per piece. As far as stockings were concerned, the payment was different for men's, women's or boys' ones, thus it depended on variation in their size. For making Spanish gussets in any size of stockings the master paid extra 2 krones, while with ordinary men's stockings only one krone. Products on thin needles were probably made on individual order, since there were no productivity norms indicating standardization established for them. All finishing work was paid separately, the norms only covering the execution on needles of different garments. A journeyman was not to leave the workshop during the entire day, but he could do small repairs to the knitwear on his own account.51 Such high hand-knitting norms demanded a strenuously full-week's work from the journeyman. Polish data on hand knitting reveal lower production. Data from the press from 1783 mention that the processing of 96 kg of wool per week can give work to 130 people, "when nightcaps, stockings, gloves, etc. are to be made from it".52 So it works out at about 738 grams of wool per week, thus about two pairs of thick stockings touch shorter than those worn nowadays. The average output of knitting Workshops in Pomeranian towns calculated for the end of the eighteenth century indicates the production of two, at the most three, pairs of thick Woollen stockings per week. For this very reason, the production of 7 pieces of stockings or socks per day in Gdansk in 1620 seems too high to achieve Without the use of a machine.53.

Machine productivity norms were initially rather modest in comparison with the volume of hand-knitting production. In 1667 in Fournier's manufacture in Lyon a good journeyman, working 12-14 hours per day, was making only 3 pairs of unicoloured silk stockings and 2 pairs of patterned ones pef week.54 So the first machines did not produce a large jump in work output, if measured against our standards. In Troyes in 1789, the production volume was estimated at about 50 dozen pairs of stockings or caps per year on one knitting machine.55 Assuring 50 working weeks per year, which seems excessive, a machine would have been producing about 12 pairs of stockings per week, which indicates a gradual improvement in production. Felkin, as journeyman, was already producing three pairs of hashionable ladies" stockings, working from 6 in the morning to 9 at night in 1808,56 which totals 18 pairs per week. In the most important knitting regions of Thuringia and Saxony, the weekly norms at the turn of the eighteenth century are: in Zeulenroda 12 pairs of stockings, in Chemnitz 15 pairs.57 In Poland at one of the first knitting manufacture in Gol^dzinow near Warsaw in 1770, on three machines there were already up to 50 pa'rs being made per week, thus just on one machine more than 16 pairs, which would indicate a fairly productive output.58 These norms show a steady and systematic increase in work output on the simple knitting frame, because around 1750 the average productive capacity of a machine in central England was given as 10 pairs of stockings per week.59 This fragmentary data collected from diferent countries show a steady improvement in the organization of work and a more effective use of the machine. The stitching of stockings or other flat knitwear could create a bottleneck in mass knitting production. In Normandy in the eighteenth century a female worker was sewing up to 10-12 pairs of stockings daily.60 The technical development of Lee's simple knitting frame and the division of labour which applied in centralized manufactures producing standarized clothing items caused knitting to became in the eighteenth century an important branch of textile production in many economically developed European countries.

0 0

Post a comment