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However much Hargraves' inventions may have tended to enrich others, to himself they were productive only of bankruptcy and ruin. The moment the intelligence transpired that he had invented a machine by which the spinning of cotton was greatly facilitated, an ignorant and infuriated mob, composed chiefly of persons engaged in that employment, broke into his house, and destroyed his machine; and some time after, when experience had completely demonstrated the superiority of the jenny, the mob again resorted to violence, and not only broke into Hargraves' house, but into the houses of most of those who had adopted his machines, which were everywhere proscribed.
In consequence of this persecution, Hargraves removed to Nottingham, where he took out a patent for his invention. But he was not, even there, allowed to continue in the peaceable enjoyment of his rights. His patent was invaded, and he found it necessary to apply to the courts for redress. A numerous association was in consequence formed to defeat his efforts; and being, owing to a want of success in an attempt to establish himself in business, unable to contend against the wealth and influence of the powerful combination arrayed against him, he was obliged to give up the unequal contest, and to submit to see hiinself robbed of the fruits of his ingenuity. He soon after fell into a state of extreme poverty, and, to the indelible disgrace of his age and country, was permitted to end his days in the workhouse at Nottingham, even after the merit of his invention had been universally acknowledged.
The spinning-jenny of the unfortunate Hargraves was applicable only to the spinning of cotton for weft, being unable to give to yarn that degree of firmness and hardness which is required in the longitudinal threads or warp. But this deficiency was soon after supplied by the invention of the spinning-frame, by Richard Arkwright, an individual whose biography is full of interest.
Richard Arkwright was born on the 23d of December, 1732, at Preston, in Lancashire. His parents were very poor, and he was the youngest of a family of thirteen children ; so that we may suppose the school education he received, if he ever was at school at all, was extremely limited. Indeed, but little learning would probably be deemed necessary for the profession to which he was bred—that of a barber. This business he continued to follow till he was nearly thirty years of age; and this first period of his history is of course obscure enough. About the year 1760, however, or soon after, he gave up shaving, and commenced business as an itinerant dealer in hair, collecting the commodity by travelling up and down the country, and then, after he had dressed it, selling it again to the wig-makers, with whom he very soon acquired the character of keeping a better article than any of his rivals in the same trade. He had obtained possession, too, we are told, of the secret method of
dyeing hair, by which he doubtless contrived to augment his profits. It is unfortunate that
little is known of the steps by which he was led to those inventions that raised him to affluence, and have immortalized his name.
Residing in a district where a considerable manufacture of linen goods, and of linen and cotton mixed, was carried on, he had ample opportunities of becoming acquainted with the various processes that were then in use; and being endowed with a most original and inventive genius, and having sagacity to perceive what was likely to prove the most advantageous pursuit in which he could embark, his attention was naturally drawn to the improvement of the method of spinning practised in his neighborhood. He stated that he accidentally derived the first hint of his great invention from seeing a red-hot iron bar elongated, by being made to pass between rollers; and though there is no mechanical analogy between that operation and his process of spinning, it is not difficult to imagine, that, by reflecting upon it, and placing the subject in different points of view, it might lead him to his invention. The precise era of the discovery is not known; but it is most probable that the felicitous idea of spinning by rollers had occurred to his mind as early as the period when Hargraves was engaged in the invention of the jenny, or almost immediately after. Not being himself a practical mechanic, Arkwright employed a person by the name of John Kay, a watchmaker at Warrington, to assist him in the preparation of the parts of his machine. Having made some progress towards the npletion of his inventions, he applied, in 1767, to Mr. Atherton, of Liverpool, for pecuniary assistance, to enable him to carry them into effect; but this gentleman declined embarking his property in what appeared so hazardous a speculation, though he is said to have sent him some workmen to assist in the construction of his machine; the first model of which was set up in the parlor of the house belonging to the Free Grammar School, at Preston. His inventions being at length brought into a pretty advanced state, Arkwright, accompanied by Kay, and a Mr. Smalley, of Preston, removed to Nottingham, in 1768, in order to avoid the attacks of the same lawless rabble that had driven Hargraves out of Lancashire. Here his operations were at first greatly fettered by a want of capital. But Mr. Strutt, of Derby, a gentleman of great mechanical skill, and largely engaged in the stocking manufacture, having seen Arkwright's inventions, and satisfied himself of their extraordinary value, immediately entered, conjointly with his partner, Mr. Need, into partnership with him.
Before going farther, let us say a word regarding the Mr. Siruit here alluded to. Jedediah Strutt was the son of a farmer, and was born in 1726. His father paid little attention to his education ; but, under every disadvantage, he acquired an extensive knowledge of science and literature. He was the first individual who succeeded in adapting the stocking-frame to the manufacture of ribbed stockings. The manufacture of these stockings, which he established at Derby, was conducted on a very large scale—first, by himself and his partner, Mr. Need, and subsequently
by his sons, until about 1805, when they withdrew from this branch of business.
The command of the necessary funds being obtained by means of a connection with Strutt and Need, Arkwright erected his first mill, which was driven by horses, at Nottingham, and took out a patent for spinning by rollers, in 1769. But, as the mode of working the machinery by horse-power was found too expensive, Sir Richard built a second factory, on a much larger scale, at Cromford, in Derbyshire, in 1771, the machinery of which was turned by a water-wheel. Having made several additional discoveries and improvements in the processes of carding, roving, and spinning, he took out a fresh patent for the whole in 1775; and thus completed a series of machinery so various and complicated, yet so admirably combined, and well adapted to produce the intended effect, in its most perfect form, as to excite the astonishment and admiration of every one capable of appreciating the ingenuity displayed and the difficulties overcome.
The machinery for which Arkwright took out his patents consisted of various parts, his second specification enumerating no fewer than ten different contrivances; but, of these, the one that was of by far the greatest importance was a device for drawing out the cotton from a coarse to a finer and harder twisted thread, and so rendering it fit to be used for warp as well as weft. This was most ingeniously managed by the application of a principle which had not yet been introduced in any other mechanical operation. The cotton was in the first place drawn off from the