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Inventions in the Textile Industry

Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

Fabric is one of the most important things in our lives. Our clothes, bedding, and many other household items are made of it, but have you ever wondered how we created such a varied and vibrant textile industry? It took plenty of innovation.

Looking at the Textile Industry

Meet Mary! Mary just found out that she needs to do a speech on the textile industry. Because there are so many important pieces of information that could be discussed about the industry, she decides to focus solely on the major inventions that created huge advances and paved the way to the modern-day textile industry. Come along as she begins to gather information for her speech.

Foundation of the Modern Textile Industry

Mary began by looking at some of the history of the industry. She learned that the textile industry has been around for a very long time but perhaps the biggest developments in the industry came around at the time of the Industrial Revolution. The industry worked to find ways to take a raw material, like cotton, and transform it more quickly into a fabric that could be made into many things. With the addition of new machines, factories began to pop up that specialized in the creation of fabric. These machines could make fabric much faster than by hand and cost less money.

Inventions and the Industrial Revolution

Next, she decided to look up some of the key inventions that really helped develop the industry, focusing primarily on the time of the Industrial Revolution, as that was a pivotal time for the textile industry. In this section we will learn about some of the key inventions Mary found.

1. Flying shuttle - This invention by John Kay in 1733 used cords that were attached to a picking peg. Using only one hand, a weaver could operate the loom. With the use of the flying shuttle, production of cloth doubled.

2. Spinning jenny - The spinning jenny created in 1764 by James Hargreaves focused on being able to spin multiple threads. A device was created that by turning one wheel, one person could spin eight threads at one time. In 1770 the spinning jenny was patented.

3. Water frame - Richard Arkwright invented what was known as the water frame. Using a water wheel, rollers produced yarn while spindles twisted the fibers. The water frame made it easier to produce yarn faster and was the strongest available. In 1768 Mr. Arkwright was able to patent his invention and would go on to build one of the first steam powered textile factories in England.

4. Spinning mule - Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule in 1779, it was a combination of the spinning jenny and the water frame. This combination allowed large amounts of yarn to be created with better control over the weaving process.

5. Power loom - Edmund Cartwright patented the power loom in 1785. The power loom was was powered by steam and was mechanically operated. The power loom combined threads so that they could eventually make fabric. In 1813, William Horrocks helped improve the power loom.

6. Cotton gin - In 1793 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. Before the cotton gin, people had to manually separate the seed from the cotton fibers. Through the use of the cotton gin, this process could be done mechanically and helped to make cotton a profitable business.

cotton gin

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