Why Spinning Mule no.3 best Industrial Revolution Inventions

A significant development in the industrialization of weaving was the invention of the “Spinning Mule.” It was invented by Samuel Crompton, an English inventor, and in 1779 during the Industrial Revolution. The spinning mule along with a few other important inventions and innovations, the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny, and the water frame, transformed Great Britain’s textile industry around the world into a huge economy.

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Cottage 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.’ 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. Cottage industries were not able to keep up with the growing demand, which gave birth to the ‘Textile industries‘.

Textile industry during the Industrial Revolution Inventions

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’. For example., In the mid-18th century, there was a huge demand for ‘Cotton Yarn,’ which led to the invention of Spinning Jenny. The 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 regarded as important inventions during the Industrial Revolution. Though it was able to produce more yarn, the main disadvantages of the Spinning Jenny were that it produced weaker threads and operated by hand. To overcome this problem, Water frames came into action which produced a stronger thread. The Water frame is a spinning frame that is powered by a water-wheel, which gave the invention the name ‘water frame’. However, unlike the spinning jenny, the water frame could spin only one thread at a time.

In 1779 Samuel Crompton invented the ‘Spinning mule,’ a combined technology of both spinning jenny and the water frame. The invention became more productive, accelerating, and was 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.

Success stories of the ‘Spinning Mule’

Samuel Crompton built his machine, the Spinning Mule, from wood. He used spinning jenny’s idea of spinning multiple threads, but he put the spindles on a carriage and fixed a creel of roving bobbins on to a frame. When the machine twisted the rovings using rollers in the manner of the Water frame, the spindle on the carriage moved forward and backward 54 inches to stretch the thread and to gather the threads in the spinning spindles.

His first machine had 48 spindles and could produce 60s thread from 1 pound of cotton in a day. It was first used to spin cotton, then other fibers. Coarse thread spun by hand was sold for 14 shillings per pound of cotton whilst thread spun on Crompton’s machine sold at 42 shillings per pound. The machine produced strong, thin, and finer yarn which was suitable for all kinds of textiles. Later the spinning mule became famous for the spun yarn suitable for use in the manufacture of muslin.

The Spinning Mule or mule-jenny was invented to overcome the worker barrier in producing more yarn. There was a strong demand for this yarn. But due to patent problems, Crompton was forced to choose between either destroying his machine or make it public. He then was promised by a number of manufacturers to pay him for the use of the machine but he received only £60. Soon manufacturers started making the machine, as the spinning mule was unpatented. Crompton received no royalties for his invention. In 1811, Crompton toured the manufacturing districts, to collect evidence and show the parliament how extensively his machine was being used. Also in a survey in 1812 showed there were between 4 and 5 million spinning mules that were in use. So the parliament granted him £5000.

Many improvements came along, but Richard Roberts designed a self-acting or automatic spinning mule and patented in 1830.


The spinning mule would not have been a success without the invention of the spinning jenny and water frame. Its success continued in the textile industry and it is always considered as inventions that changed the world.



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english inventorenglish-inventor
cottage industryhome-based
textile industriestextile-industry
rural communitiesrural-communities
urban communitiesurban-communities
cotton yarncotton
weaker threadweaker-thread
stronger threadstronger-thread
spin only onespinner
combined technologycombined-technology
48 spindles48-spindles
strong, finer yarnstrong-finer
destroy his machine or make it publicsmashed
no royaltiesroyalty
survey in 1812smiley-positive
parliament grantedwinner
picture credit: Pixabay.com
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