1860s

Costing of flannel printing in 1864

25. Costing of flannel printing in 1864
Because of the complex multi-stage processes of textile printing, it was very difficult to work out accurate costings. This attempt to break down the cost of flannel printing into individual processes and overheads demonstrates the number of factors involved.  The calculation begins with the number of pieces of cloth (each 44 yards in length) to be completed in a six-day week, and aims to determine the total cost per yard.  The width of the fabric, although not given here, was usually around 30 inches.
The processing stages represent nearly one-third of the actual costs (32%) with mordanting, roller printing and inspection accounting for the main expenses. Other costs, less immediately involved such as design, mixing colours and maintenance of machinery, amount to nearly a quarter (22%). Energy costs for both coal and steam engines account for one-eighth (12.5%), while property rental, and colouring matters add somewhat more than this each (16-18%). The option of having a dyed ground could also add a small but significant amount to the total (nearly 3%).

The transcription below is slightly altered to help the reader understand the amounts seen in the original manuscript. No explanation is given in the original for the large jump to the final figure, but it is assumed that this must include the salaries of management, the credit or cash discount given to customers (probably three months credit or 2½% discount at this period), and the intended profit.  The book containing this calculation holds prices for differing materials, quantities, and qualities of work. It was kept over a period of years up to 1871, and may be the work of Thomas Royle, chemist and colourist. Royle was joint manager, with the designer John Audsley, of the firm set up after Swaisland’s death in 1865: Swaisland’s Printing Company Limited.

Cost of Flannels. Mordanting. Dyeing &c. 1864.
The passage of 864 pcs [pieces of cloth] through the works - 144 pcs per day. 44 yds each -

  Labour Materials Cost each piece
PROCESSING COSTS


Hot watering [with]


Mordanting &c. 10.16.0 10.16.0 6d
Chemic
7.4.0 2d
Drying 2.14.0
¾d
Folding & Callendering 1.16.0
½d
Printing with Roll[ers],
Looking over &c.
28.16.0
8d
Steaming 6.6.0
Washing 3.12.0
1d
Drying 3.12.0
1d
Folding & Packing 1.16.0
½d
INDIRECT COSTS


Booking 3.12.0
1d
Superintendance 3.12.0
1d
Carriage 3.12.0
1d
Engraving 7.4.0
2d
Drawing 10.16.0
3d
Colour-making 10.16.0
3d
Block making 2.14.0
¾d
Engineers & carpenters
plus Wear & tear
10.16.0
3d
ENERGY COSTS


Coals - steaming & drying 1.16.0 19.16.0 6
Coals - Engines &c. 1.16.0 7.4.0 2½d
Subtotal 1 116.2.0 45.0.0 0.3.8¾
PROPERTY COSTS

 
Rent &c. 39.12.0
11d
Subtotal 2 155.14.0 45.0.0  
Sum 1 (labour +
materials)
200.14.0
0.4.7¾
or 1¼d per yard
ADDITIONAL COSTS

 
Dyeing 7.4.0

2d
Subtotal 2 plus dyeing 162.18.0
45.0.0
 
Sum 2 (labour +
materials)
207.18.0

0.4.9¾
From subtotal 2 above

0.4.7¾
Colour
43.4.0
12d
Sum 1 plus colour 243.18.0

0.5.7¾
or 1½d per yard
TOTAL (including
profits?)


 
864 pieces @ 44 yds each  £396.0.0   0.9.2 per piece
or 2½d per yard

 

 “Dr. Philip A. Sykas is acknowledged as the copyright owner of the captions included here. As such any re-use of material which includes direct quotation or extensive paraphrasing should name Dr. Sykas as the author.”