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Net-making machine from Qualtrough's factory, Castletown

Date made: c.1900

Description: A net-making machine or loom used in the Qualtrough's net factory in Castletown, which produced herring, mackerel and pilchard nets. The net-making machine was made by the engineering firm of Knox & Co in Douglas, circa 1900. The net factory was operated by Joseph Qualtrough & Co. and was part of a business which also included a timber yard and steam sawmill.

This net loom would usually have been worked by a woman, using a foot-operated treadle. This led to the machine being known as a 'jumper'. This particular machine is an unusual example because it has been modified to be driven by steam-power.

Traditionally fishing nets were made by hand using a jeebin (net needle), but the first Manx net factory with machinery was opened in 1854 by Robert Corrin in Peel. Corrin also introduced cotton nets to replace the older linen variety. William Knox of Knox Engineering was also an innovator, introducing new net looms and steam-powered net hauling equipment to the Manx fishing industry. During the 19th century, fishing developed from a part-time subsistance occupation into a fully commercial and mechanised industry, which supported, directly and indirectly, up to a quarter of the Island's population.

Materials: iron

Object name: Net Making Machine

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1967-0326


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