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Richard Arkwright

Richard Arkwright was the youngest of thirteen children, born in England. His family was very poor and he did not attend school, but was taught by his cousin Ellen. He began life working as a barber and wig-maker in the early 1750s, and was the inventor of a waterproof dye for coloring wigs. This brought him substancial income and helped him later prototype his cotton machinery. He was an inventor who helped in the creation of the mechanical textile industry. He died at 59 years old, leaving behind a fortune of £500,000, which today would be worth several hundred million U.S dollars.

Due to legal patent problems, Richard Arkwright isn't legally credited to inventing the spinning frame (or water frame), he's still known for being the inventor. He is the one who finished it and used it, but he did not come up with the original idea. it was based on an invention by Thomas Highs, and the idea was sold to him by John Kay, a mechanic who helped Thomas Highs build early revisions of the frame. The spinning frame used many new mechanical inventions (such as draw rollers by Lewis Paul) and spun cotton into threads. It was too large to be operated by men, and many different methods were experimented with to power it, such as horse power. Eventually a water wheel was used and the invention was renamed the water frame. Richard is also known for his carding engine, an improvement from Lewis Pauls' original. The new carding engine could convert raw cotton buds into a continues string of cotton which could be easily spun into yarn. The water frame along and carding engine helped spark the mass production of textiles during the early revolution. 

Written by Johnathan Croom

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