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Daybook of Sir Titus Salt

Archive reference: SAL

This manuscript documents one of the most exciting innovations in the history of industry in Bradford. Its results shape our landscape today.

Sir Titus Salt (1803-1876) was a Bradford textile manufacturer. His lasting memorial is the Mill and surrounding model village of Saltaire, built to provide better conditions for his textile workers. Saltaire is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Daybook is a small notebook in which Salt recorded personal notes of special transactions and experiments between 1834 and 1837. The most significant section of the book covers his experiments with "Peruvian wool" (alpaca). Salt had seen this wool in Liverpool in 1834 and became interested in its use. The hair of the alpaca, a relative of the llama, had been used for weaving as a warp or with a worsted warp but the resultant cloth had little to recommend it. Titus Salt and his assistants spent over a year working on the problems involved in spinning alpaca, then pioneered the use of alpaca weft with cotton or silk warps; this produced a durable lightweight fabric with a sheen. The cloth became very popular and was the foundation of Salt's great success.

The story of the Daybook, with pictures: One Bag Peruvian Wool: Titus Salt's Day Book.  No. 3 in our 100 Objects exhibition.

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