A throstle doffer was a young boy or girl who changed the bobbins of thread for the throstle spinning machines in an English textile mill. It was a delicate task and had to be done quickly. There might be hundreds of spinning frames, all at different stages of completion, and so the doffers were kept constantly on their feet.

In the 1830's, the children worked long shifts, sometimes more than 15 hours, and were paid a penny an hour.

Thros"tle (?), n. [OE. throsel, AS. rostle, rosle; akin to MHG. trostel, G. drossel, Icel. rostr, Sw. trast, Lith. strazdas, L. turdus. 238. Cf. Thrush the bird.]

1. Zool.

The song thrush. See under Song.

2.

A machine for spinning wool, cotton, etc., from the rove, consisting of a set of drawing rollers with bobbins and flyers, and differing from the mule in having the twisting apparatus stationary and the processes continuous; -- so called because it makes a singing noise.

Throstle cock, the missel thrush. [Prov. Eng.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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