ARKWRIGHT, Richard
(b. 1732, Preston, d. 1792, Cromford)

Biography

English textile industrialist and inventor whose use of power-driven machinery and employment of a factory system of production were perhaps more important than his inventions.

He became interested in spinning and carding machinery that turned raw cotton into thread. In 1769 Arkwright patented the spinning frame, which became known as the water-frame, a machine that produced a strong twist for warps, substituting wooden and metal cylinders for human fingers. This made possible inexpensive cotton-spinning. From 1771, he constructed in Cromford his first factories powered by steam engines, invented by James Watt in 1764.

Arkwright was knighted in 1786 and by the time of his death on 3 August 1792, Arkwright had established factories in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Lancashire and Scotland, and was a wealthy man.



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