Trade card of Richard Arkwright, peruke maker and hair cutter, c 1755.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by W Barlow. The trade card features a description of the services Richard Arkwright offered and the items he sold. The description is framed by an ornate border featuring a cartouche of wigs. Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) was the inventor of textile manufacturing machinery, which included the first practical means of mechanical spinning using rollers. Arkwright originally trained as a barber and wigmaker. It is likely that he became aware of attempts to mechanise the cotton spinning proces while travelling round North West England collecting hair for the wigs.