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Richard Arkwright Changes Textile Industry

Water Powered Invention Lowers Price of Cloth Items

Englishman Richard Arkwright has changed the textile industry forever with his new invention of the water frame. In 1769, Great Britain announced his invention and Arkwright claims his water frame will speed up the process of spinning cotton thread and will also lower the cost.

Arkwright demonstrated how it worked and started by telling how flowing water from a river turns a giant wheel that turns other smaller gears connected to belts. These belts move parts of the machinery and a machine for cleaning raw cotton was the first step. Then the raw cotton is spun into thread on a spinning frame. After it is spun, it is moved to the loom to be woven into cloth.

Richard Arkwright was born in December, 1732 and never went to school. He only knows how to read and write because his cousin taught him as a child. Arkwright began working as an apprentice barber, but became an entrepreneur after his wife died. He went around Great Britain dyeing people's hair and purchasing people's hair to use as wigs. He was in constant contact with weavers and spinners and when the fashion of wigs went down, he looked to the making of inventions in the textile industry.

Now that there is one water powered machine, many inventors think that this is the way to build a strong economy. Eli Whitney was even quoted to say, "I am persuaded that machinery moved by water adapted to this business would greatly reduce the labor and facilitate the manufacture of this article."

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