1902 Encyclopedia > Samuel Crompton

Samuel Crompton
Inventor of the spinning mule

SAMUEL CROMPTON (1753-1827), the inventor of the spinning-mule, was born at Firwood near Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, of poor parents. While yet a hoy he lost his father, and removed with the rest of his family to Hall-in-the-Wood, near Bolton, where he educated himself as well as circumstances would allow, maintaining himself by working as a cotton-spinner. His musical capacity—he had sufficient taste and knowledge to compose several hymn-tunes—enabled him to earn a little money by playing the violin at the Bolton Theatre. Meanwhile he was working hard to perfect his invention for spinning yarn for the manufacture of muslin, and he had brought it into working order before his marriage, which took place in 1780. The expense of a patent proving too costly for his limited means, he was glad to make known the construction of his machine to a few manufacturers for very small sums of money. Several refused to fulfil their agreement, and all he received was about £60. The use of his invention spread rapidly, and he constantly made improvements upon it; but though in 1801 he had, with the aid of £500 lent him by a friend, extended his business by employing a number of hands besides his own family, he was nearly sixty years of age before he obtained any important pecuniary recompense. Urged by the monetary difficulties in which he had involved himself through his somewhat shy and unbusiness-like temperament, he drew up a paper showing how marvellously extensive and useful was the employment of the mule, and £5000 was allowed him by Parliament. In 1826, however, his business had again failed, and another attempt was made to obtain a second Government grant, but without success. He died on the 26th June 1827. (See his Life by G. French.)

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