Arkwright's original drawing frame (lantern frame), c 1775.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Before spinning, fibres are put through two proceses - carding and drawing. Drawing both strengthens and evens the fibres and adds some twist. The drawing frame invented by Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) in 1775 greatly improved this proces. In this original machine, two 'slivers' of loose cotton fibres are fed between a pair of rollers. The slivers are then combined by pasing through a second pair of faster rotating rollers. The resultant fibre, known as 'slubbing', is also imparted with a slight twist to hold the fibres together. The twisted slubbing is then coiled into a tall metal can before pasing on to other stages of the spinning proces. It is extracted by a side door, giving the can the appearance of a lantern, from which this machine was commonly known as a 'lantern frame'.