A major development in the industrialization of weaving was the invention of “Spinning Jenny” next to the invention of “Flying Shuttle”. Spinning Jenny was invented by James Hargreaves, an English inventor, and patented in 1770 during the Industrial Revolution. The spinning jenny along with a few other important inventions and innovations, the flying shuttle, the water frame, and the spinning mule, transformed the economy of the textile industry in Great Britain around the world.
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Textile Industry during the Industrial Revolution Inventions
During the early 18th century, weaving and the production of cloths were done on a very small scale as it was run by ‘cottage industry’ or ‘home-based‘. Individual workers produced goods, such as wool, either in their premises in which they lived or on their own farms, and then sold it to local communities around the country by pack-horse. The cottage industry productions were slow and were very small in scale. In 1733, John Kay invented the ‘flying shuttle‘ which accelerated the weaving and created a huge demand for the ‘cotton yarn.’ Cottage industries were not able to keep up with the growing demand. In the mid-18th century, many inventors were inventing better ways that transformed rural communities, mainly based upon agriculture, to industrial urban communities based on the ‘factory system’. Inventions become more productive, accelerating, and were able to fill the gap of growing demand with mass production. The textile industry was the main and foremost industry to trigger the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.
Growing demand for the ‘Cotton Yarn’
During the 17th century, Great Britain was famous for its woolen and worsted cloth. The processing of cotton was very less, so cheap calico prints were imported by East India Company. Though the import became popular, it went reduced year upon year until 1736, due to the Commercial Legislation Act passed by the government to protect the woolen industry. This prevented the importation of dyed or printed calicoes from India, China, or Persia and fined anyone caught wearing. Later in 1736, the use of colored cotton weft, with linen warp, was permitted. In the mid-18th century, there was a huge demand for ‘Cotton Yarn,’ which led to the invention of Spinning Jenny.
Success stories of the Spinning Jenny
In order to produce a quality yarn, an individual weaver had to visit neighbors for buying cotton weft. Then, it almost takes three carders for roving one spinner, and three spinners to provide quality yarn for one weaver. Both Young and old people were engaged in work. A weaver would go to the market once a week with the help of a pack-horse to sell his finished product. But, the process was slow, and was not able to fill the growing demand.
Spinning Jenny was invented and patented, by James Hargreaves in 1770, as a metal frame with eight wooden spindles at one end. On that frame, a set of eight rovings was attached to a beam. By extending the rovings, which are passing through two horizontal bars of wood, the thread is extended, by clasping the two horizontal bars. The spinners use their left-hand to draw the bars to the top of the frame and use their right-hand to turn a wheel, rapidly, which caused all the spindles to revolve, and spun the thread. When the bars are pulled back, the thread is wound onto the spindle. A pressing wire or ‘faller’ was used to spindle the threads onto the right place.
This device helped produce more yarn and reduced the amount of work, allowing a worker able to work eight or more spools at once. Later the technology advanced and grew to 120 spools. Spinning Jenny was always regarded as important inventions during the Industrial Revolution
James Hargreaves’s Invention
After James Hargreaves produced a number of devices, the price of yarn fell, and the spinning community was angered due to the transformation cottage industry into the factory system. Eventually, the spinning community smashed his machines. He then came to know about Nottingham’s hosiery industry and knitted silks, cotton, and wool. He moved to Nottingham in 1768. There he partnered with Mr. Shipley and Thomas James and set up a textile business in Mill Street.
In 1770, he patented his invention, the Spinning Jenny, and succeeded because it was making more yarn in a shorter time and boosted the textile production.
The spinning jenny would not have been a success if the flying shuttle had not been invented and installed in the textile industries. Its success continued in common use in the cotton industry until about 1810. It is always considered as inventions that changed the world.
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