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Corner Chair

18th Century

This chair belonged to John Kay, the inventor of the flying shuttle, who was born in 1704 in a house at Rothwell’s of the Park, Walmersley, near Bury.

John Kay played a major part in the advancement of the cotton industry and is best known around the world for having invented the wheel shuttle or Flying Shuttle in 1773. His invention meant one person could operate a shuttle across a very wide loom, which greatly increased the rate of cloth production. In 1753 Kay’s house in Bury was ransacked by an angry mob of textile workers who feared that his machines would destroy their livelihood. Due to these events, John Kay left England for France. He died in the South of France in 1780 aged 76. A memorial commemorating his achievements was set up in Kay Gardens in the centre of Bury in 1908. The legacy of the Flying Shuttle is inestimable; it completely changed the weaving of textiles. It helped to set the Industrial Revolution in motion.