From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The factory system was a method of manufacturing first adopted in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1750s and later spread abroad. Fundamentally, each worker created a separate part of the total assembly of a product, thus increasing the efficiency of factories. Workers, paid by wage, and machines were brought together in a central factory. All the processes of production would be carried out under one roof, and would continue as long as it was practical. Inconclusively, Richard Arkwright is the person credited with being the brains behind the growth of factories. After he patented his water frame in 1769, he established Cromford Mill, in Derbyshire, England. The factory system was a new way of organizing labour made necessary by the development of machines which were too large to house in a worker's cottage. Working hours were as long as they had been for the farmer, that is, from dawn to dusk, six days per week. It reduced the worker to an unskilled commodity who could be easily replaced.
Debate arose concerning the morality of the system, as workers complained about unfair working conditions prior to the passage of labour laws. One of these imoralities concerned women's labour, which in many cases women were paid almost a quarter of what men made. Child labour was also a major part of the system, and was vehemently argued by those who deemed it immoral. Robert Owen created his utopian socialist factories at New Lanark specifically to not conform to this system. Also, it was common to work 12 hours a day