Richard Arkwright

Sir Richard Arkwright (23 December 1732 3 August 1792) was an English inventor and a leading entrepreneur during the early Industrial Revolution. He is credited as the driving force behind the development of the spinning frame, known as the water frame after it was adapted to use water power; and he patented a rotary carding engine to convert raw cotton to "cotton lap" prior to spinning. He was the first to develop factories housing both mechanised carding and spinning operations.
Richard Arkwright was born in Preston, Lancashire, England on 23 December 1732, the youngest of seven surviving children. His father, Thomas, was a tailor and a Preston Guild burgess. Richard's parents, Sarah and Thomas, could not afford to send him to school and instead arranged for him to be taught to read and write by his cousin Ellen. He was apprenticed to a Mr. Nicholson, a barber at the nearby town of Kirkham, and began his working life as a barber and wig-maker, setting up a shop at Churchgate in Bolton in the early 1760s. It was here that he invented a waterproof dye for use on the fashionable periwigs of the time, the income from which later funded his prototype cotton machinery.
In 1768, Arkwright and John Kay, a clockmaker, returned to Preston, renting rooms in a house on Stoneygate (now called Arkwright House), where they worked on a spinning machine. In 1769 Arkwright patented the spinning frame, a machine which produced twisted threads (initially for warps only), using wooden and metal cylinders rather than human fingers. This machine, initially powered by horses (see below), greatly reduced the cost of cotton-spinning, and would lead to major changes in the textile industry.
Arkwright and John Smalley set up a small horse-driven factory at Nottingham. To obtain capital for expansion, Arkwright formed a partnership with Jedediah Strutt and Samuel Need, wealthy nonconformist hosiery manufacturers. In 1771, the partners built the world's first water-powered mill at Cromford, which covered both carding and spinning operations and employed 200 people.
With the expansion of the mill at Cromford, it soon became apparent that the existing population of the town would be inadequate to provide the labour needed for the scale of operations which Arkwright was planning. He therefore brought in workers from outside the locality, building a cluster of cottages near the mill to house them (he also built the Greyhound public house, which still stands in Cromford market square).
After establishing the mill at Cromford, Arkwright returned to Lancashire and took up a lease of the Birkacre mill at Chorley, which was to become a catalyst for the town's growth into one of the most important industrialised towns of the Industrial Revolution. In 1777 Arkwright leased the Haarlem Mill in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, where he installed the first steam engine to be used in a cotton mill (actually this was used to replenish the millpond that drove the mill's waterwheel rather than to drive the machinery directly). He was invited to Scotland, where he assisted David Dale in establishing cotton mills at New Lanark. A large mill of Arkwright's at Birkacre in Lancashire, was destroyed in the anti-machinery riots of 1779.