Cotton tape si/ers were described by the Board of Trade in the 1890s as 'men who prepare the cotton yarn for weaving by dressing it with size and making the warp'. Their work, so defined, hardly changed from the 1850s and 1860s when the first permanent organisations of workers were established to the present day. It was, however, enlarged when the laying in of coloured patterns, a task previously regarded as the province of warpdressers, also began to fall within their competence, much to their benefit and to the disadvantage of warpdressers themselves and their organisations.