(baptized Jan. 8, 1720, Stanhill, Lancashire, Eng.died April 22, 1778, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire) British inventor of the spinning jenny. A poor, uneducated spinner and weaver, he is said to have conceived the idea for the machine when he observed a spinning wheel accidentally overturned; as the spindle continued to revolve while upright, he reasoned that many spindles could be so turned, and went on to construct the first machine (patented 1770) with which one person could spin several threads at once.
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