Richard Arkwright's machine for preparing yarn for spinning, 1775.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving entitled 'Mr Arkwright's Plan of the Machine for preparing Silk, Cotton, Flax and Wool for Spinning'. Arkwright (1732-1792) was the inventor of the first practical means of mechanical spinning using rollers. The invention of the spinning machine revolutionised the production of yarn and led to rapid mechanisation throughout Britain. The engraving is from 'The trial of a cause instituted by Richard Pepper Arden, Esq...', by Richard Arkwright, (London, 1785), an account of a trial whereby several manufacturers obtained a writ of scire facias in an attempt to repeal Arkwright's patent. Although Arkwright had succesfully sued nine firms for infringement of his patent, he lost the case against Arden and the others.