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James Hargreaves (also known as James Hargraves ) (1720 – 22 April 1778) was a weaver, carpenter and an inventor in Lancashiremarker, Englandmarker. He is credited with inventing the Spinning Jennifer (shortened to spinning Jenny in 1768) in 1764.

Along with Richard Arkwright, Hargreaves is one of the most famous names of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, yet little is known of him as a person. Born at Knuzden Brook near Stanhill, Oswaldtwistlemarker in Lancashiremarker, he lived at Blackburnmarker, then a town with a population of about 5,000, known for the production of "Blackburn greys," cloths of linen Warp and cotton weft. They were usually sent to Londonmarker to be printed. The demand for cotton yarn outstripped supply, and the crude one-thread spinning wheel could not keep up.

The idea for the spinning jenny is said to have come from the inventor seeing a one-thread wheel overturned upon the floor, when both the wheel and the spindle continued to revolve. He realised that if a number of spindles were placed upright and side by side, several threads might be spun at once. This idea may have come from Hargreaves, or perhaps from Thomas Highs, who had a daughter called Jenny: the sources given below are in conflict.

Whoever the inventor was, he designed a frame, in one part of which he placed eight rovings in a row, and Hargreaves certainly developed the idea from its crude beginnings.

The spinning jenny was confined to producing cotton weft, it was unable to produce yarn of sufficient quality for the warp. This deficiency was supplied by Arkwright's spinning frame.

Opposition to the machine caused Hargreaves to leave for Nottinghammarker, where the cotton hosiery industry benefited from the increased provision of suitable yarn. Arkwright also ended up in the town, and was even more successful. Hargreaves made jennies for a man called Shipley, and on 12 June 1770, he was granted a patent, which enabled him to take legal action against the Lancashire manufacturers who had begun using it. Although he failed in this, Hargreaves' business was carried on until his death in 1778, the year before that in which Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule. Hargreaves is also the first man to come up with the idea of a factory, and set up the first one in Cromfordmarker, Nottinghamshiremarker.

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Sources

  1. James Hargreaves, or James Hargraves (English inventor) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia

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