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During the 1700’s, men wore knee pants and stockings. Manufacturing stockings was a work-at-home job offering short hours and decent pay with the various positions within the stocking industry offering employment for the majority of workers in Northern England. Then, in the early 1800’s, men began to wear trousers. New technology increased productivity at a time of declining demand while the introduction of steam engines and factories allowed for younger unskilled workers who were forced to work fourteen hour days under brutal conditions.
In November of 1811 the “Luddite Revolt” began in the village of Bulwell. A group of armed and disguised men broke into master weaver Edmund Hollingsworth’s house and destroyed six of his master frames. A week later, they burned down his house. As the attacks spread throughout the countryside, a favored tool of destruction emerged. Master blacksmith Enoch Taylor forged massive iron sledge hammers. Ironically, he also manufactured the frames and looms that were being destroyed with his hammers.
Today, the term “Luddite is used to describe a person opposed to new technology.