Sir Rich Arkwright


By Spahn Dirge

Sir Rich Arkwright was born on December 23, 1732 at Preston in the
county of Lancaster. His first profession was a barber in Bolron-le-moors
in 1760. Soon afterward he traveled throught the country buying human
hair. At that time he had a valuable chemical secret for dying the hair to
make wigs out of. Arkwright\'s hair was commented to be the finest hair in
the country.

In 1761, Richard Arkwright married Margaret Biggins, and this marriage
brought him to an aquaitance with Thomas Highs. Highs was probably one of
the most important people Arkwright was to ever meet. He was the inventor
of the spinning jenny and the water frame. Highs was behind the mechanical
production of both of these machines, however he could now market his
product due to lack of funding and ill communication skills. This is where
Richard Arkwright comes in. Arkwright was highly skilled in dealing with
business and other social aspects.

Arkwright sought to obtain the water frame by less than friendly means.
He contacted John Kay, a former employee of Highs\', to "turn brass" for
him. This was all part of a clever plot to get Kay to reveal the design of
Highs\' water frame. Eventually, Arkwright succeded and Kay cunstructed a
replica of the water frame, or otherwise known as throstle.

Arkwright showed off the model to several people to seek financial aid.
He eventually prevailed on Mr. Smalley to fund the project.

In April of 1768 he hired Kay and took him along with him to Nottingham
where he built a factory turned by horses. On July 3, 1769, he obtained a
patent for "spinning by rollers." By doing this, he solidified his hold
over the water frame preventing Highs from ever gaining the immense profits
made by the water frame.

In 1771, Arkwright built another factory in Cromford. The power for
this factory was supplied by a water wheel instead of horses. During this
time many improvements were made to shorten the process of spinning wool.
Arkwright kept an eye on these improvements and eventually made a machine
combining many of them into a series. These "engines," as he called them,
were enough to take up another pattent on December 16, 1775. Improvements
specified in the pattent were not invented by Arkwright but were actually
borrowed from a number of different spinners. The spinners he borrowed the
improvements continued to use their improvements even after the pattent was
obtained. In 1781, Arkwright began to take action against these people for
still using these improvements by suing them for pattent infringement.
Unlike what would happen today, only one case was tried against Col.
Mordaunt. Mordaunt\'s defence was that Arkwright had never specified the
inventions as required by law, theref making the pattent invalid.

Soon after the trial, Arkwright published "The Case." The object of
"The Case" was to obtain from the Legislature an act of Parliament to
guarantee Arkwright the pattent-right which had been invalidated by the
trial in 1781. In "The Case" he attributed the invention of the jenny and
the water frame to James Hargrave who infact only improved on the water
frame. He also cleverly omitted Highs\' name from the paper, and Hargrave,
who was dead, could not deny or approve of what was written.

For those of you who have been wondering all this time about what the
water frame exactly is, well, it\'s not a drenched picture frame. It\'s
really an improvement on a spinning machine called the spinning jenny. The
jenny, however, was only able to spin transverse threads. The jenny\'s
inventor, Highs, believed he could produce a machine that could spin cotton
to a degree of hardness and fineness required for logitudinal threads which
had been made from foreign linnen yarn. Highs employed Kay to make the
machine by giving him a model made of wood.

The water frame required a great deal of power to operate it, and could
only be used to the advantage of factories,and only by specific factories
with an available water source to turn the machine because the steam engine
had not been invented at this point in time. This is where it got the name
of water frame. The yarn spun on the water frame is twisted much harder
than yarn spun on the jenny. Because of this, it is better adapted for
warps or longitudinal threads.

Highs tried to keep the water frame as secret as possible because, as
was said, it was his favorite invention. He promised himself that he would
take full advantage of it in