John Swailes and Sons Cop Tubing Apparatus

Made:
1864-1924

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

Cop tubing apparatus made in Oldham by John Swailes and Sons between 1864 and 1924 for use on cotton spinning machines. Built into a case with model spinning mule fallers and spindles, it comes with a small metal basket holding colourful paper cops.

Considering its small size and portability, John Swailes and Sons likely took this cop tubing apparatus in its carrying case to exhibitions or around Manchester’s mills as a sales model. The lid lifts up and the front panel opens out, so the device can be demonstrated on the spindles within.

As Manchester’s textile industry expanded in the 19th century, new inventions and apparatus, including cop tubing apparatus like this, were created to increase the mill’s efficiency. The device was invented to speed up the spinning process. Workers used it to load multiple empty cops, onto which yarn was spun, onto the mule’s spindles in one go rather than one by one, reducing how long the machine was stood still. Inventors and manufacturers continued to experiment with new ways to mechanise Manchester’s textile industry and increase productivity.