SPINNING JENNY INVENTION
IN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The Industrial Revolution is one of the most significant events in all of world history and had a profound impact on the modern world. It began first in Britain in the 1700s but soon expanded to the rest of Europe and North America. Before the innovations of the Industrial Revolution, most production depended on water, wind or human energy. The businesses that existed at this time were called cottage industries. Cottage industries were an early stage of economic development in society in which workers produce a limited amount of goods in home-based businesses. However, by the mid-1700’s, new methods of production were being developed across Europe, especially in Great Britain. This transition led to the factory system, which was the creation of factories in centralized locations such as industrial towns and cities. This period of innovation continued throughout the 19th century and led to many new inventions by now famous inventors. In fact, one of the key features of the Industrial Revolution is the development of new inventions that led to more automation by machines. Significant inventions or innovations of the Industrial Revolution included: flying shuttle, spinning jenny, power loom, water frame, cotton gin, steam engine, telephone, light bulb, automobile, assembly line production and interchangeable parts.
A significant invention of the Industrial Revolution was the spinning jenny, which was invented by James Hargreaves in 1764. James Hargreaves was an English inventor and is remembered today for inventing the spinning jenny, which was important to the textile industry in England. One of the main industries that benefitted from the Industrial Revolution was the textile industry. The textile industry was based on the development of cloth and clothing.
Little is known of the early life of James Hargreaves, but he worked as a weaver, using a handloom. In fact, he seems to have worked as a weaver for most of his life. As stated above, James Hargreaves is famous for the invention of the spinning jenny in 1764. Simply put, the spinning jenny was a machine that used a large wheel to spin many spindles of thread at once. The invention increased the production ability of textile manufactures and was particularly important for cotton. While Hargreaves sold his invention to several mills in the area, he made very little money from his work. Regardless, his invention had a profound impact on the Industrial Revolution as it inspired other inventions who built off his ideas.
For example, Richard Arkwright invented the water frame in 1759. Arkwright’s invention was capable of producing strong yarn. The machine replaced the need for manual labour and enabled the production of inexpensive spun cotton by using the moving force of a creek or river that spun a shaft. This was important because the increased amount of energy meant that Arkwright’s water frame could produce at a higher level than Hargreaves spinning jenny. Next, historians identify the invention of the spinning mule in 1779 by Samuel Compton, as an extension of the ideas of Hargreaves. The spinning mule essentially allowed the fast production of yarn using a spinning machine.
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