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Portrait of Samuel Crompton

Samuel Crompton (1753-1827) invented the Spinning Mule. This machine solved the problem of how to mass produce high quality spun cotton. His invention was used by others in a way that changed the world forever.

Crompton grew up at Hall i’ th’ Wood in Bolton. His family were not wealthy and supported themselves by spinning, weaving and keeping cattle. Crompton had an 8 spindle jenny for spinning cotton but it could not spin fine yarn and it often broke while spinning. Crompton was determined to invent a better spinning machine, which he completed in 1779.

Crompton’s machine attracted a lot of interest and he was persuaded to offer a public viewing in 1780. Unlike Arkwright, Crompton did not imagine his machine being used beyond small family businesses like his own. The machine was copied and used in large factories. While others used his machine to make their fortunes, Crompton earned only around £60 from the public viewing. In 1812 he was eventually awarded £5000 by Parliament as compensation, but through bad luck and a lack of business ability he lost this money.

Samuel Crompton died in poverty in Bolton in 1827