In July 1769 Richard Arkwright, born in Preston, Lancashire, but then living in Nottingham was granted a patent for ‘a new piece of machinery… for the making of weft or yarn from cotton, flax, and wool’ – a revolutionary roller spinning machine which in Derbyshire, where it was first successfully powered by water at Cromford, became known as the ‘water frame’.
Arkwright's written specification for his invention was illustrated with this drawing.
These machines were used in Arkwright's factory in Cromford after a mill was built there in 1770.
Richard Arkwright started his working life as an apprentice to a barber and wig maker, before setting up his own shop. He would later start work on his spinning frame alongside a clockmaker called John Kay, which made him one of the very first industrialists.