Jedediah Strutt, English entrepreneur and industrialist, c 1760s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Etching. Jedediah Strutt (1726-1797), a key figure in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, first made his fortune in the 1750s by devising 'the Derby Rib Machine'; a machine attachment to produce ribbed stockings for his brother-in-law's hosiery busines. This wealth enabled him to go into partnership with Samuel Need and Richard Arkwright in 1769 to build the world's first water powered cotton mills using Arkwright's waterframe invention. As well as his investments in the cotton mills, Strutt built silk mills at Belper and Milford in Derbyshire. In Belper Strutt and his family established a complete factory community, building houses and schools for his workers, as well as creating new roads and civil engineering systems to control the river.