ARKWRIGHT'S SPINNING MACHINE
 
  
Samuel Slater
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Arkwright heard of attempts being made to produce new machines for the textile industry.  Arkwright met John Kay, a clockmaker from Warrington, who had been busy for some time trying to produce a new spinning-machine with another man, Thomas Highs.

Arkwright impressed by Kay, offered to employ him to make this new roller-spinning machine for cotton.  Arkwright also recruited other local craftsmen to help, and it was not long before the team produced the roller-spinning machine.  Lewis Paul and John Wyatt had invented a similar machine 30 years earlier.  The drawing rollers, spindles, flyers and bobbins and all parts essential to the process of cotton functioned in the same manner.  Only the driving connections were different.  Instead of a machine circular in plan and working from a vertical central axis, they devised one that was rectangular.  This was simple to construct and operate.

One difference between Paul and Wyatt's and Arkwright's was that whereas the bobbin in earlier machines was directly driven, Arkwright adopted a method where the bobbin, suitably braked was pulled round by the yarn.  The simplicity of the driving mechanism is obvious - a vertical shaft at the side, projecting through the floor and driven below by animal or water power, fitted with a large pulley for which a belt drove a row of spindles.  Another vertical shaft also driven from the belt drove the toothed wheel and the 'clockwork' gearing behind it which turned the rollers.

Arkwright's machine involved three sets of paired rollers that turned at different speeds.  While these rollers produced yarn of the correct thickness, a set of spindles twisted the fiber together.  The machine was able to produce a thread that was far stronger than that made by the Spinning-Jenny produced by James Hargreaves.

Arkwright's spinning machine possessed several advantages over the simple jenny - a single worker could spin several threads at once, producing yarn that was strong, uniform in thickness and perfect for warps.  Furthermore, it was powered by horses or by water not by hand.

The Spinning-Frame was too large to be operated by hand and so Arkwright had to find another method of working his machine.  After experimenting with horses, Arkwright decided to employ the power of the water-wheel.  In 1771 he set up a large factory next to the River Derwent in Cromford, Derbyshire.  Arkwright's machine because of the source of power now became known as the Water-Frame.
 
 
 
WATER FRAME
 

The Water Frame was a double-sided machine, having twenty-four spindles on each side.  There are three pairs of drawing rollers, the upper one covered with leather to provide a cushion-like surface by means of which considerable pressure could be applied between the rollers so as to grip the cotton without injuring the fibres.  The cushioning was particularly necessary because of the very heavy weighting applied to the top rollers at the time, certainly much heavier than was later found necessary.  Possibly the crude construction of the rollers and their bearings, and the general unevenness of the roller surfaces made the heavy weighting necessary.

The frame was driven from a vertical shaft which was driven from the water wheel through gearing in the room below.  Actually two machines were driven directly from the same shaft, the second machine being in the same line and further to the left.  A large wood bevel wheel at the upper end of the vertical shaft originally drove a square section wood shaft which extended across the room to drive other machines.
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Samuel Slater
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Mill Machines