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This article contributes to a topic central to interpretations of British industrialization and the role of Indian cotton textiles in shaping notions of cloth quality and, eventually, innovations. Textual evidence indicates that manufacturers in the early British cotton industry compared the quality of their products to that of Indian cottons. These texts suggest the hypothesis that there was a shift towards finer cotton textiles in Britain, via attempts to make the cotton warp yarn match Indian quality. Using a novel dataset of surviving British and Indian textiles of the period, the article puts this hypothesis to the test, and concludes that between 1746 and 1820 there was an increase in the quality of British cottons, leading to a convergence with the quality of handmade Indian cottons.