John Kay, English inventor, c 1750s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph showing the English inventor John Kay (1704-1764). Weavers can be seen through the window working on a loom while a woman spins in front of them. On the table in front of Kay, the artist has illustrated the flying shuttle which Kay patented in 1733 and this revolutionising the weaving proces. The flying shuttle speeded up the weaving proces (the shuttle no longer had to be laboriously pased by hand acros the loom) and made posible the weaving of broader cloth. Kay was attacked by weavers who regarded his invention as a threat to their jobs and he left for France, where he died in poverty.