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Richard Arkwright

Richard Arkwright Sir Richard Arkwright (1732–1792) was an English inventor and businessman. In the 1760s he became interested in finding ways of mechanizing cloth-making as a means to make his fortune. He invented the spinning frame, which he patented in 1769. A later version powered by running water was called the water frame. This machine allowed cotton to be spun into yarn (thread) on an industrial scale. It was a significant improvement on the spinning jenny, invented by James Hargreaves in 1764, and made a huge contribution to the Industrial Revolution.

Spinning frame

Spinning frame

Arkwright decided to develop a machine that would improve on the spinning jenny. Teaming up with the clockmaker, John Kay, Arkwright's machine replaced the workers that were still required to operate the jenny. First demonstrated in 1768, the spinning frame, as it was called, was able to drive 128 spindles at a time, and the thread it produced was stronger.

As a young man, Arkwright ran a barber's business. Having acquired a secret method for dyeing hair that made it waterproof, he travelled around Britain buying up human hair for use in wig-making.

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