John Heathcoat, English inventor, mid 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by T L Atkinson after a portrait by William Beetham. John Heathcoat (1783-1861) was a pioneer of lace-making machinery. He invented the horizontal pillow and the 'old Loughborough'. Textiles workers at Loughborough in Leicestershire and other northern weaving towns protested at increasing mechanisation which threatened their jobs. These protests were known as the Luddite riots, and in 1816 Heathcoat moved to Tiverton in Devon to avoid them. He later became MP for the town (1832-59). He also patented the rotary self-narrowing stocking-frame and other inventions.