For a long period no great change came about in the machinery used for manufacturing cloth. The loom of the early eighteenth century did not differ greatly from that of the tenth century, and the spinning wheel introduced in England about the fifteenth century was still in use. A great change was felt in many ways in the middle of the eighteenth century. "It was a time of new men, new methods, and new conditions. The whole social and industrial fabric was undergoing change, and it was in connection with the cotton trade that the new life was shaping itself with the strongest force."1 A series of remarkable inventions for manufacturing cotton cloth by machinery revolutionized the whole textile industry as their use spread to wool, flax, and silk.
The patient, laborious methods of hand work were to be replaced within a half century by wonderful machines, run first by water power, then by steam. The spirit of mechanical invention once thoroughly awakened has never rested, and in the field of textile industries some of its greatest works began.
1 Burnley. Story of British Trade and Industry.
It must be remembered that by the eighteenth century the textile industries were very large, employing hundreds of thousands of workers in England alone. These workers were often banded together under a master for convenience and expediency. Spinning was a long, slow process, and frequently the weaver had to remain idle because of the lack of yarns. This difficulty was increased when, in 1733, John Kay invented the fly shuttle, which greatly simplified the placing of the filling threads, throwing the shuttle across the loom by a mechanical device. With this aid the weaver could weave twice as much cloth as before. Since this device lessened the rate of wages of the weavers, for some time they declined to adopt it.
About the same time John Wyatt worked out a spinning machine which "spun the first thread of cotton ever produced without the intervention of human fingers," but he never succeeded in perfecting his invention. In 1764, James Hargreaves, a poor weaver, inspired by an overturned spinning wheel which he observed continued to revolve, made a machine which spun eight threads at a. time. This "spinning jenny," named for his wife, was kept a secret for some time, until his neighbors, wondering how he could produce so much yarn, mobbed his house and destroyed the machine. Later he received œ4,000 from the manufacturers of Lancashire for permission to use a machine of sixteen, spindles. This machine was the cause of fierce contention between workingmen and masters. In 1769, Richard Arkwright, a barber, working with the idea of Wyatt, perfected a spinning frame in which the thread was drawn out by a series of rollers, each pair revolving more rapidly than the one before. The yarn was twisted by the revolving of a fly attached to the spindle, and wound on bobbins. In Har-greaves' jenny the yarn was drawn out by a carriage which held the yarn to be spun and moved away from the spindles, which twisted the yarn as they revolved. The carriage then moved back and the yarn >was wound on the spindles,
Samuel Crompton, another poor inventor, combined the principles of Hargreaves' and Arkwright's machines in the first spinning mule.
These inventions multiplied many fold the production of the spinners, but as yet no improvement had been made to the loom since the day of Kay's flying shuttle.
Dr. Edmund Cartwright, a country clergyman, after long experiment produced in 1785 the first loom run by other than hand power. Many improvements were made to this loom before it was wholly efficient, but the idea had been conceived. Thus within fifty years the whole industry of spinning and weaving was given new life; and although it took many years to establish machinery thoroughly, largely because of the opposition of the work-ingmen, who thought they would be thrown out of work and could not foresee that the industry would only be increased, yet the start had been made. Add to these inventions the perfection of a steam engine by James Watt, in 1769, which was gradually to replace water power in the running of these new machines, the invention of the saw gin for removing cotton seeds by Eli Whitney, in 1794, and we have the names of the six men who were the chief promoters, in the textile industry, of the Industrial Revolution. Although five of these six inventors were Englishmen, it was not long before the inventions were carried to other countries. Cotton, which up to this time had held a very small place in the textile world because of the difficulty of removing seeds and spinning by hand, now jumped rapidly to the top, and with its rise flax declined. The mob riots and destruction of machinery gradually died out, although with the commercial depression caused by wars in 1811-1812 a riotous band of workmen called Luddites, in England, began again the fight against the machine, but this lasted only for a short time. In the United States the difficulty of introducing machinery arose from a different cause. The English, during the period before the War of Independence, were doing everything possible to destroy the home industries of these colonies, consequently they forbade the introduction of spinning machinery into the country. It was not until after the Revolution that a spinning machine was finally introduced by Samuel Slater, who had become so thoroughly familiar with Arkwright's machines in England that he was able to construct one from memory in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in 1790. Laws still forbade the bringing of either models or drawings from England. The power loom was not used in this country until after the War of 1812.