Spinning Jenny (1764)
The Spinning Jenny aided in hastening the process of spinning. Spinning is a process when several separate fibers of cotton are stretched out (hence making them more tense) and then twisted to form one thread. This idea of several different fibers being twisted together can be seen even today, in a piece of yarn, for example, which is really several threads combined and twisted together and can be untwisted into several pieces.
Before the industrial revolution, spinning was a relatively slow process. Yarn was spun, usually in homes by women, using a spinning wheel. The fibers were held out by hand by the spinster, and then the wheel was spun, to create one twist of thread.
The Spinning Jenny was a machine that spun several threads at once. In the beginning, it started out with using eight spindles onto which thread was spun from rovings – due to this eight threads were spun at once. In a normal spinning wheel, there is one spindle that spins, therefore creating one thread. Due to this, the process was accelerated. However, for this quantity, quality began to depreciate – the threads created by this machine lacked the strength of the earlier threads. It was too coarse to be used lengthwise (warp threads) in weaving and had to be used crossways (weft threads).
This machine that greatly altered the industry was invented by a man named James Hargreaves who was a weaver in a village in Lancashire . The story is that Hargreaves had a daughter named Jenny, who one day unintentionally knocked over a spinning wheel and Hargreaves watched a spindle roll on the floor which sparked the idea of the spinning-jenny (which was ergo named after the daughter Jenny).
Hargreaves' Jenny was patented in 1770 and invented a few years before that, however, it was not the first spinning machine, and the inventor Paul had used machines to spin cotton in his mill for several decades before the revolution. *
Hargreaves did not have it easy, though he created such a revolutionary machine. Apparently, in 1768, irate spinners broke into his house and destroyed all his machines.
Industrial Revolution. 11 Mar. 2006 . 21 Mar. 2006 < http://www.cottontimes.co.uk/ >.
Deane, Phyllis. The First Industrial Revolution. New York : Cambridge University Press, 1965.