'John Kay, a Lancashire Worthy', mid-18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured lithograph drawn by W Physick, 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 process. The flying shuttle speeded up the weaving process (the shuttle no longer had to be laboriously passed by hand across the loom) and made possible 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. Published by Thomas Sutcliffe, Manchester. Dimensions: 458 mm x 340 mm.