Calico printing: washing the cloth

#Picture Number ST212

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Victorian illustration to download showing cotton cloth being washed at a calico printing works. Cotton cloth had to go through a complex washing, bleaching and dyeing process before being printed. The washing machines, known as dash-wheels, were hollow wheels, about 6ft in diameter and 2ft deep, with 4 compartments, each with an opening. The cloth was washed by agitation as the wheels rotated. Men load and unload the cloth from barrows and trolleys; steam rises from the dash-wheels. This scene was sketched at the calico printing works at Dukinfield, Lancashire, near Manchester, in 1843.