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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s

Industry and Technology

Textile and Leather

By John R Hume

Advertisement In 1914 Glasgow was still a major producer of cotton and cotton/wool cloths with some cotton-spinning surviving from its 19th century heyday. The leather industries were very particular to the city and were dominated by the manufacture of industrial leather goods, especially leather belts to drive machinery and by the making of upholstery leather. Cotton spinning, with one unorthodox exception, died out in the 1930s, but the making of cotton and cotton/wool mixed cloths continued until after 1960.

Dyeing yarn The unorthodox exception was the making of "condenser yarn" in which the fibres are rolled together, rather than twisted. This was then made up into cleaning cloths. The largest branch of the textile industries was, however, carpet weaving, with two important firms, Templetons and Lyles in competition. Both were still very active in 1960, making spool Axminster (wool) and, in the case of Templetons, chenille Axminster carpets made of very thick, tufty silk or velvet cord.

Wallace & Weir Overcoat There was also some textile finishing in the city, especially dyeing and bleaching, the latter mainly in Pollokshaws, but the businesses concerned were generally small. Of the clothing industries, hosiery manufacture was the most important, but there was also some tailoring, including bespoke tailoring and uniform manufacture. There was a small cotton waste industry, based on recovered textiles and manufacturing waste, that supplied railway and other companies with cleaning waste. Generally speaking, this group of industries, with the exception of carpet weaving, was in slow decline throughout the period.

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