Hargreaves’ “Spinning Jenny”

(154 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

The “spinning jenny” was invented by James Hargreaves (or Hargraves) a poor Lancashire spinner, around 1764. His machine enabled one wheel to spin several threads at once, thus radically augmenting the quantity produced. He was driven out of Lancashire by the hostility of spinners whose livelihoods were threatened by his invention and moved to Nottingham where he ran a small mill and received a patent for his device in 1770.

Hargreaves' yarn was not strong enough for the warp of a cloth (the longitudinal threads), only for the weft. His invention was improved by Crompton's “mule” (1779) which gave the thread a twist similar to that applied in hand spinning, thereby improving the quality. By the 1810s there were over …

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Editors. "Hargreaves’ “Spinning Jenny”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 January 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1362, accessed 29 September 2016.]