The Spinning Jenny

What is a spinning jenny?

The spinning jenny is actually a spinning wheel that has more than one spool. It was created by James Hargreaves back in 1764 in the area of Stanhill, specifically Blackburn in Lancashire, which can be located in the Northwestern part of England. This device dramatically decreased the amount of time and work that a particular person actually needed in order to come up with a yarn product. Without the spinning jenny, one worker needs to work with more than eight spools at once.

Its origin

The idea started off with a metal frame that has eight spindles made of wood at one of its ends. Eight of its rovings were actually attached to the beam of the frame. When these rovings are extended, they are able to pass through some horizontal bars that are made of wood which are all clasped to one another.

There came a time when the production of cotton could not keep up with its demand. This was when James Hargreaves started to spend more time than usual in considering different ways about discovering how the process can be improved.

Its success and downfall

When James Hargreaves invented the machine, he kept it as a secret at first. However, he was able to create a lot for his own growing industry. There came a time when the selling price of the yarn largely decreased because of the spinning jenny. This situation angered the spinning community in the area of Blackburn.

After some time, villagers just broke into his residence and destroyed all of the machines. This situation pushed him to transferring to Nottingham back in 1768. It was in his new home that he manufactured even more jennies in his own shop, still keeping everything as a secret. He even made his very own name.

Spinning jenny copycats

After some time James Hargreaves decided to apply for a patent on his invention, the spinning jenny, in July of 1770. Sadly, around this time, a lot of spinners located in Lancashire were already spinning using prototypes of his machine. He decided to take some legal action against these copycats.

These manufacturers felt threatened and were actually afraid to have a suit against them and decided to pay him three thousand pounds. Even though he initially demanded seven thousand pounds, they settled at four thousand pounds. Unfortunately, the case soon fell apart when it was found out that James Hargreaves has sold a few before.

Its discovery

A very common story about how this device was particularly invented is that James Hargreavesí daughter, named Jenny, was knocked over to her feet by one of her fatherís very own inventions. When this occurred, James Hargreaves noticed that the machine was still working efficiently, only with the spindle now pointing in an upright direction. This was when he realized that there was actually no particular reason that the spindle needed to be placed in a horizontal direction.

However, many did not believe this story and even regarded it as a myth because of the Registers of the Church Kirk were able to come up with the roster of his daughters, and none of them were named Jenny.


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