The spinning frame is an Industrial Revolution invention for spinning
thread or yarn from fibers such as wool or cotton in a mechanized way.
It was developed in 18th-century Britain by Richard Arkwright
and John Kay.
- Sir Richard Arkwright (22 December 1732 – 3 August 1792) was an
English inventor and a leading entrepreneur during the early
Industrial Revolution. Although his patents were eventually
overturned, he is credited with inventing the spinning frame, which
following the transition to water power was renamed the water frame.
He also patented a rotary carding engine that transformed raw cotton
into cotton lap. Arkwright's achievement was to combine power,
machinery, semi-skilled labour and the new raw material of cotton to
create mass-produced yarn.
- John Kay was a clockmaker from Warrington, Lancashire, England,
associated with the scandal surrounding invention of the spinning
frame in 1767, an important stage in the development of textile
manufacturing in the Industrial Revolution. Kay constructed the
first known frame, and is one of the claimants to having been its
inventor. He is sometimes confused with the unrelated John Kay who
had invented the flying shuttle thirty years earlier.
Richard Arkwright employed John Kay to produce a new spinning machine
that Kay had worked on with (or possibly stolen from) another inventor
called Thomas Highs.
Thomas Highs (1718–1803), of Leigh, Lancashire, was a reed-maker
and manufacturer of cotton carding and spinning engines in the
1780s, during the Industrial Revolution. He is known for claiming
patents on a
jenny, a carding machine and the throstle (a machine for the
continuous twisting and winding of wool).
With the help of other local craftsmen the team produced the spinning
frame, which produced a stronger thread than the spinning jenny produced
by James Hargreaves.
- James Hargreaves (c. 1720 – 22 April 1778) was a weaver,
carpenter and inventor in Lancashire, England. He was one of three
inventors responsible for mechanising spinning. Hargreaves is
credited with inventing the spinning jenny in 1764, Richard
Arkwright patented the water frame in 1769, and Samuel Crompton
combined the two creating the spinning mule a little later.
The frame employed the draw rollers invented by Lewis Paul to
stretch, or attenuate, the yarn.
The roller spinning process starts with a thick 'string' of loose
fibers called a roving, which is passed between three pairs of rollers,
each pair rotating slightly faster than the previous one. In this way it
is reduced in thickness and increased in length before a strengthening
twist is added by a bobbin-and-flyer mechanism. The spacing of the
rollers has to be slightly greater than the fiber length to prevent
breakage. The nip of the roller pairs prevents the twist from backing up
to the roving.
Too large to be operated by hand, the spinning frame needed a new
source of power. Arkwright at first experimented with horses, but
decided to employ the power of the water wheel, which gave the invention
the name 'water frame'.
For some time, the stronger yarn produced by the spinning frame was
used in looms for the lengthwise "warp"
threads that bound cloth together, while hand powered jennies provided
the weaker yarn used for the horizontal filler "weft"
threads. The jennies required skill but were inexpensive and could be
used in a home. The spinning frames required significant capital but
What is a loom?