James Hargreaves, a British weaver, invented the spinning jenny in 1764 and applied for a patent in 1770. The spinning jenny revolutionized the textile industry by streamlining the process of spinning cotton into workable thread.
Hargreaves previously built his career working on a hand loom. Some accounts say that his idea for the spinning jenny was inspired by an accident that occured when his daughter knocked over his spinning wheel. As Hargreaves watched the wheel spin, he realized it could be used to operate multiple spindles at once. The first spinning jenny spun eight coarse threads simultaneously, and gradual improvements in designed multiplied the machine's output to eighty threads. Since Hargreaves waited years to secure a patent, other manufacturers reproduced his invention in the intervening time and heavily profited from it.