Arkwright's defence of his spinning machine patent, 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Title page of a book about a landmark court case of 'scire facias' brought by Richard Pepper Arden against the inventor Richard Arkwright (1732-1792). Arkwright invented the first practical means of mechanical spinning using rollers, an invention that revolutionised the production of yarn and led to rapid mechanisation throughout Britain. This court case was brought ten years after Arkwright took out the patent on his invention in 1775 during which time he had successfully sued nine firms for the infringement of his patent. Arkwright lost the case for the repeal of his patent and this left the way open for the widespread adoption of spinning machines. He published an account of the trial in 'The trial of a cause instituted by Richard Pepper Arden, Esq...', (London, 1785).