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Why was Richard Arkwright so important?

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Quick Answer

Richard Arkwright is considered important because he is credited with helping invent the first spinning machine that spun cotton into yarn. This machine ended up being the catalyst for the beginning of the industrial revolution.

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As a successful wig maker and the original developer of hair dye, Richard Arkwright began to diversify his entrepreneurial skills and inventions when wearing wigs went out of style. His wig-making business had enjoyed a good run since its creation in 1771. Moving on, Richard worked with clock maker John Kay to perfect James Hargreaves' cotton spinning machine. The spinner was patented by Richard Arkwright in 1775.

In addition to the spinning machine, Arkwright developed a horse-driven spinning mill and created a machine that could manufacture yarn without the help of other machines. He was also the first person to use the steam engine, built by James Watts. This engine powered textile machinery. From this, the power loom was eventually developed.

Many people challenged the patent to the spinning machine in court and claimed that Arkwright had copied the idea. The courts sided with those challenging the patents and they were revoked in 1785. Richard Arkwright continued on to build factories and was knighted in 1786.

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