Crompton, Samuel

Crompton, Samuel
b. 3 December 1753 Firwood, near Bolton, Lancashire, England
d. 26 June 1827 Bolton, Lancashire, England
English inventor of the spinning mule.
Samuel Crompton was the son of a tenant farmer, George, who became the caretaker of the old house Hall-i-th-Wood, near Bolton, where he died in 1759. As a boy, Samuel helped his widowed mother in various tasks at home, including weaving. He liked music and made his own violin, with which he later was to earn some money to pay for tools for building his spinning mule. He was set to work at spinning and so in 1769 became familiar with the spinning jenny designed by James Hargreaves; he soon noticed the poor quality of the yarn produced and its tendency to break. Crompton became so exasperated with the jenny that in 1772 he decided to improve it. After seven years' work, in 1779 he produced his famous spinning "mule". He built the first one entirely by himself, principally from wood. He adapted rollers similar to those already patented by Arkwright for drawing out the cotton rovings, but it seems that he did not know of Arkwright's invention. The rollers were placed at the back of the mule and paid out the fibres to the spindles, which were mounted on a moving carriage that was drawn away from the rollers as the yarn was paid out. The spindles were rotated to put in twist. At the end of the draw, or shortly before, the rollers were stopped but the spindles continued to rotate. This not only twisted the yarn further, but slightly stretched it and so helped to even out any irregularities; it was this feature that gave the mule yarn extra quality. Then, after the spindles had been turned backwards to unwind the yarn from their tips, they were rotated in the spinning direction again and the yarn was wound on as the carriage was pushed up to the rollers.
The mule was a very versatile machine, making it possible to spin almost every type of yarn. In fact, Samuel Crompton was soon producing yarn of a much finer quality than had ever been spun in Bolton, and people attempted to break into Hall-i-th-Wood to see how he produced it. Crompton did not patent his invention, perhaps because it consisted basically of the essential features of the earlier machines of Hargreaves and Arkwright, or perhaps through lack of funds. Under promise of a generous subscription, he disclosed his invention to the spinning industry, but was shabbily treated because most of the promised money was never paid. Crompton's first mule had forty-eight spindles, but it did not long remain in its original form for many people started to make improvements to it. The mule soon became more popular than Arkwright's waterframe because it could spin such fine yarn, which enabled weavers to produce the best muslin cloth, rivalling that woven in India and leading to an enormous expansion in the British cotton-textile industry. Crompton eventually saved enough capital to set up as a manufacturer himself and around 1784 he experimented with an improved carding engine, although he was not successful. In 1800, local manufacturers raised a sum of £500 for him, and eventually in 1812 he received a government grant of £5,000, but this was trifling in relation to the immense financial benefits his invention had conferred on the industry, to say nothing of his expenses. When Crompton was seeking evidence in 1811 to support his claim for financial assistance, he found that there were 4,209,570 mule spindles compared with 155,880 jenny and 310,516 waterframe spindles. He later set up as a bleacher and again as a cotton manufacturer, but only the gift of a small annuity by his friends saved him from dying in total poverty.
Further Reading
H.C.Cameron, 1951, Samuel Crompton, Inventor of the Spinning Mule, London (a rather discursive biography).
Dobson \& Barlow Ltd, 1927, Samuel Crompton, the Inventor of the Spinning Mule, Bolton.
G.J.French, 1859, The Life and Times of Samuel Crompton, Inventor of the Spinning Machine Called the Mule, London.
The invention of the mule is fully described in H. Gatling, 1970, The Spinning Mule, Newton Abbot; W.English, 1969, The Textile Industry, London; R.L.Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester.
C.Singer (ed.), 1958, A History of Technology, Vol. IV, Oxford: Clarendon Press (provides a brief account).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Crompton, Samuel — born Dec. 3, 1753, Firwood, Lancashire, Eng. died June 26, 1827, Bolton, Lancashire British inventor. His spinning mule (probably called a mule because it was a cross between inventions of Richard Arkwright and James Hargreaves) permitted large… …   Universalium

  • Crompton,Samuel — Cromp·ton (krŏmpʹtən), Samuel. 1753 1827. British inventor of the spinning mule (1779). * * * …   Universalium

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  • CROMPTON, SAMUEL —    inventor of the spinning mule, born near Bolton; for five years he worked at his project, and after he got it into shape was tormented by people prying about him and trying to find out his secret; at last a sum was raised by subscription to… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Crompton — Crompton, Samuel …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Samuel Crompton — For the politician, see Sir Samuel Crompton, 1st Baronet. Samuel Crompton Born 3 December 1753(1753 12 03) 10 Firwood Fold, Bolton, Lancashire, England …   Wikipedia

  • Samuel Crompton — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Crompton. Samuel Crompton Samuel Crompton (1753 1827) inventa une machine à filer le coton qui permit d’obtenir un fil à la fois fin et résistant, la mule jenn …   Wikipédia en Français

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