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Early machine for turning textile fibre into thread or yarn, which was then woven into cloth on a loom. The spinning wheel was probably invented in India, though its origins are unclear. It reached Europe via the Middle East in the Middle Ages. The improvement of the loom in 18th-century England created a yarn shortage and a demand for mechanical spinning. The result was a series of inventions that converted the spinning wheel into a powered, mechanized component of the Industrial Revolution (seedrawing frame; spinning jenny; water frame).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on spinning wheel, visit Britannica.com.