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.
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.
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.
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 little skill.
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