Sir Richard Arkwright

(1697 words)

Richard Arkwright’s genius was to perfect mechanical means of spinning thread, and then to integrate the new technologies for cleaning raw cotton fibre, spinning and weaving into a comprehensive industrial process. In effect he founded the factory system which was to transform all of human life.

Relatively little is known about the humble origins of Richard Arkwright. He was born in Preston on December 23rd 1732, the son of a tailor. He had very little education, attending only evening school in winter time—not the local Bluecoat School—and was apprenticed to a barber and wig-maker, moving to Bolton in 1750. There he set up as a barber on his own account and married on March 31st 1755, his w…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Clark, Robert. "Sir Richard Arkwright". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 February 2004; last revised 01 June 2005.
[, accessed 23 May 2015.]