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Samuel Crompton (1753-1827)

Samuel Crompton

This image was provided by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council for use in the Cotton Town digitisation project: www.cottontown.org

Samuel Crompton was a mill worker who had learnt to spin using a Spinning Jenny. He noted that one of the problems with the Spinning Jenny was that the thread was not strong enough and it kept breaking. In 1779, Crompton designed a new machine which he called the Spinning Mule. His machine combined the best features of both the Spinning Jenny and Arkwright's Water Frame. The Spinning Mule produced a very fine and even thread which was suitable to spin yarns for making muslin.

However, Crompton was poor and did not have enough money to develop his invention in order to patent it. He tried to raise money by playing his home-made violin at concerts. Crompton was eventually tricked by some textile manufacturers into giving away the secret of his invention. He never patented the Spinning Mule and was paid very little for divulging its secret to the manufacturers.

The Spinning Mule was quickly adopted by the textile industry. In March 1792, an angry crowd of spinners broke into Grimshaw's factory in Manchester and destroyed all the Spinning Mules which had been installed there.

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Shirley Burchill, Nigel Hughes, Richard Gale, Peter Price and Keith Woodall 2014

Footnote : As far as the Open Door team can ascertain the images shown on this page are in the Public Domain.