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The Cowper and Newton Museum
Lace making equipment: fire pots

Thomas Wright records the use of "fire-pots" or "dick-pots" or "chad-pots" to keep the workers warm. These pots, which were pierced with holes could be made from earthenware, brass or iron and they were filled with hot wood ashes or glowing charcoal.

The women placed them near their feet, often tucking them beneath the voluminous skirts wom at this time. The women could not sit near fires, whether wood or coal, because the smoke would dirty the expensive lace thread.

In earlier times the lacemakers would work in the lofts above cattle byres in winter. Heat generated by the bodies and breath of the animals stabled below would arise and help keep the workers warm.

Despite rather primitive conditions, good workers would keep their hands scrupulously clean in order not to soil the lace and so lower its value.