This diagram accompanied the patent specification for Richard Arkwright's (1732-1792) Spinning Machine. The patent (no 931) was granted to Arkwright on 3 July 1769. The machine used the drawing roller method invented by Lewis Paul in 1738. The fibres are drafted (teased out) by the action of pairs of rollers running at different speeds, and then twisted, as in a spinning wheel, to make a firm yarn. The motive power comes from a horse mill geared to a vertical shaft with a large pulley which drives the spindles by means of a belt. The upright shaft of a friction wheel gives motion to the rollers. The invention of this machine revolutionised the production of yarn and led to rapid mechanisation throughout Britain.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library