James Hargreaves

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pages: 420 words: 124,202

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen

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Albert Einstein, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, barriers to entry, collective bargaining, computer age, Copley Medal, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, delayed gratification, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, fudge factor, full employment, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, iterative process, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, moral hazard, Network effects, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Simon Kuznets, spinning jenny, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, éminence grise

The following decade, an even larger step was taken. At almost exactly the same time that Matthew Boulton was creating the Soho Manufactory, Henry Cort was building his puddling furnace, Joseph Black was investigating the properties of latent heat, and James Watt was repairing Glasgow University’s broken model of a Newcomen engine, a Lancashire weaver had his own Gestalt moment.* The year of James Hargreaves’s inspiration is a little vague—his daughter dated it to 1766—but not its character. While visiting a friend, Hargreaves observed a spinning wheel that had been knocked down; with the wheel and spindle in a vertical position, rather than their then-traditional horizontal one, they continued to revolve. In a flash, Hargreaves imagined25 a line of spindles, upright and side by side, spinning multiple threads simultaneously.

By placing the burden of proof on Arkwright rather than his accusers, his competitors in the cotton industry, who had invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in machinery that they understandably wanted to be able to use without permission from Arkwright, had stumbled on a powerful weapon. The trial of Rex v. Arkwright, which was heard at Westminster Hall in June 1785, was the result. The original dubiousness of Arkwright’s “invention” now came back to haunt him, as Highs and Kay, and even James Hargreaves’s widow, all appeared as witnesses against him, with Kay going on record as saying “he never would have had the rollers but through me.” Arkwright, during his own testimony, said, “if any man has found out a thing,40 and begun a thing, and does not go forwards … another man has the right to take it up, and get a patent for it.” The final ruling, by Chief Justice Buller, found against Arkwright on three separate grounds: that the 1775 patent was not novel (that it essentially restated the 1769 patent, in an attempt to extend it); that it included elements not invented by Arkwright; and that it was insufficiently specific.

However, it seems that the weight of the evidence still supports it. 22 “This is second only to the printing press” Usher, History of Mechanical Inventions, citing Theodore Beck. 23 The first wheels used to mechanize Ibid. Lynn White, citing ambiguous illustrations in the windows of the cathedral at Chartres and an earlier regulation in the town of Speyer, gives the date of 1280. 24 “put [it] between a pair of rollers” Usher, “The Textile Industry, 1750–1830,” in Kranzberg and Pursell, eds., Technology in Western Civilization. 25 In a flash, Hargreaves imagined “James Hargreaves” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 26 “almost wholly with a pocket knife” Ibid. 27 “came to our house and burnt” Ibid. 28 “much application and many trials” Ibid. 29 “Weavers typically rested and played long” Landes, Wealth and Poverty of Nations. 30 “When in due course, SAINT MONDAY” Douglas A. Reid, “The Decline of Saint Monday 1766–1876,” Past and Present no. 71, 1976. 31 “I was a barber” “Richard Arkwright” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 32 As both men later recalled Ibid. 33 (Highs’s daughter, Jane) Edward Baines, History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain (London: H.


pages: 790 words: 150,875

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

The Industrial Revolution has been characterized as a ‘wave of gadgets’.6 Certainly, it was technological innovation that explained much of the decisive increase in the productivity of land, labour and capital (the so-called factors of production). The second and third of these increased in quantity in the nineteenth century,* but it was the qualitative improvement that really mattered – the fact that total output exceeded the combined increments of workers and mills. In terms of supply, then, the Industrial Revolution was a hunt for efficiency. James Hargreaves’s spinning jenny (1766), Richard Arkwright’s water frame (1769), Samuel Crompton’s mule (1779), Edmund Cartwright’s steam-powered loom (1787) and Richard Roberts’s self-acting mule (1830): these were all ways of making more thread or cloth per man-hour. The spinning jenny, for example, allowed a single worker simultaneously to spin cotton yarn with eight spindles. Thanks to these innovations, the unit price of British cotton manufactures declined by approximately 90 per cent between the mid-1790s and 1830.7 The same applied to the other key breakthroughs in iron production and steam-power generation.

He had a total of twenty-four children by five different women, one of whom brought an action for bigamy against him, forcing him to flee the United States. Like Marx – and like a disproportionate number of nineteenth- and twentieth-century entrepreneurs, especially in the clothing and cosmetics business* – Singer was of Jewish origin. And, like Marx, he changed the world – though, unlike Marx, for the better. I. M. Singer & Company, later the Singer Manufacturing Company, completed the process of mechanizing clothes production that James Hargreaves had begun less than a century before. Now even the sewing together of pieces of cloth could be done by machine. The revolutionary nature of this breakthrough is easily overlooked by a generation that has never sewn on more than a couple of buttons. Singer was evidently a man who loved women; has any man done more for womankind in return? Thanks to Singer, the painstaking hours that had previously been needed to stitch the hem of a skirt became mere minutes – and then seconds.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra

But increasing supply was not easy, because even the remotest Pennine valleys and Welsh marches were now thickly settled with the cottages of weavers and spinsters, transport was dear and some of the workers were earning good enough wages to take weekend holidays, occasionally even drinking their pay away till Monday night, preferring consumption to extra income. As the twentieth-century economist Colin Clark put it, ‘Leisure has a real value even to very poor people.’ So, stuck between booming demand and stalling supply, the putters-out and their suppliers were ripe customers for any kind of productivity-enhancing invention, and with such an incentive, the inventors soon obliged. John Kay’s flying shuttle, James Hargreaves’s spinning jenny, Richard Arkwright’s water frame, Samuel Crompton’s mule – these were all just milestones on a continuous road of incrementally improving productivity. The jenny worked up to twenty times as fast as a spinning wheel and produced a more consistent yarn, but it was still operated entirely by human muscle power. Yet by 1800 the jenny was already obsolete, because the frame was several hundred times as fast.

Few of the inventions that made the industrial revolution owed anything to scientific theory. It is, of course, true that England had a scientific revolution in the late 1600s, personified in people like Harvey, Hooke and Halley, not to mention Boyle, Petty and Newton, but their influence on what happened in England’s manufacturing industry in the following century was negligible. Newton had more influence on Voltaire than he did on James Hargreaves. The industry that was transformed first and most, cotton spinning and weaving, was of little interest to scientists and vice versa. The jennies, gins, frames, mules and looms that revolutionised the working of cotton were invented by tinkering businessmen, not thinking boffins: by ‘hard heads and clever fingers’. It has been said that nothing in their designs would have puzzled Archimedes.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

The chronometer allowed navigators at sea to determine longitude and latitude by providing an accurate representation of time at a particular location. LIGHTNING ROD (1750) Ben Franklin first proposed the idea of a lightning rod in a letter written in 1750, and his descriptions were ultimately translated into French. The first test of Franklin’s theoretical design was actually implemented in France in 1752. SPINNING JENNY (1764) A longstanding debate questions whether James Hargreaves was the true inventor of the spinning jenny, a machine that greatly improved the efficiency of the cotton industry. Some evidence suggests that Hargreaves was merely improving the design of an artisan named Thomas Highs. What is clear is that the Hargreaves design was greatly improved upon in the years following the production of his first model by weavers throughout Northern England. CARBONATED WATER (1767) Clergyman Joseph Priestley discovered that by charging water artificially with carbon dioxide, he could create an effervescent beverage, known today as seltzer.


pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

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3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

Rather than top-down innovation by some of the biggest companies in the world, we’re seeing bottom-up innovation by countless individuals, including amateurs, entrepreneurs, and professionals. We’ve already seen it work before in bits, from the original PC hobbyists to the Web’s citizen army. Now the conditions have arrived for it to work again, at even greater, broader scale, in atoms. Chapter 3 The History of the Future What happened in Manchester and the cottage industries of England changed the world. It could happen again. In 1766, James Hargreaves, a weaver in Lancashire, was visiting a friend when he saw a spinning wheel fall on its side. For some reason it kept spinning, and something about the contraption still working in the unfamiliar orientation triggered a vision in Hargreaves’s mind: a line of spindles, side by side, spinning multiple threads of cotton from flax simultaneously. When he returned home, he started whittling up just such a machine from spare wood, with the spindles connected by a series of belts and pulleys.


pages: 296 words: 82,501

Stuffocation by James Wallman

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3D printing, Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Black Swan, BRICs, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collaborative consumption, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Fall of the Berlin Wall, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, James Hargreaves, Joseph Schumpeter, Martin Wolf, McMansion, means of production, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, World Values Survey, Zipcar

In it, Darwin proved that all animals had evolved through a process of natural selection, where only the fittest survived, and those that did not adapt did not. If you were a man of letters or industry in the 19th century, Darwin’s theory was both interesting and inspiring. If you thought about this idea for a moment, it sounded an awful lot like the industrial revolutions of recent years. When James Hargreaves had invented the spinning jenny in Lancashire in the 1760s, for instance, the spinner could now spin yarn twenty times more efficiently than if she had been using her old spinning wheel. That new spinning jenny not only revolutionized how quickly a spinner could produce yarn. It also meant the spinning wheel would now only be useful for burning. It had become, in a word, obsolete. And as Hargreaves’s jenny had replaced the wheel and made it useful only as firewood, so, a few years later, the spinning jenny became obsolete – as the new spinning frame made much stronger yarn.


pages: 218 words: 63,471

How We Got Here: A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology and Markets by Andy Kessler

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Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Grace Hopper, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Not surprisingly, in 1755, a mob broke into John Kay’s house and destroyed one of his looms, but fortunately, he had a few spare. Making thread or yarn, on the other hand, remained old fashioned. Shear a sheep, and then wind the wool on a spinning wheel. Invented who knows how many centuries before, as quaint as could be. But as weavers demanded more yarn of higher quality, they substituted cotton from the New World for expensive wool. Along came the Spinning Jenny. Invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves, it combined eight and eventually 80 spindles of wool into a thread strong enough to sew with. Hargreaves got the idea (or at least according to legend) when his daughter Jenny knocked over the family spinning wheel and had to chase it through the house. When local spinners heard of the invention, they broke into his home in Lancashire and busted the Jenny up, the wooden one. He moved to Nottingham.


pages: 364 words: 103,162

The English by Jeremy Paxman

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back-to-the-land, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, Etonian, game design, global village, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Khartoum Gordon, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sensible shoes, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

Any self-respecting York-shireman knows precisely which towns are inside his county and which have the misfortune to lie in outer darkness. Yet the inhabitants of the north did not become more than paradigms of themselves – Yorkshire Tykes, Tyneside Geordies or Liverpudlian Scousers. The wealth of modern England was built on the Industrial Revolution, so how did towns like Preston, Bolton and Blackburn, which produced three cotton-spinning geniuses in Richard Arkwright, Samuel Crompton and James Hargreaves, somehow manage to be exiled from the country the English imagined they were living in? Some of the reasons are practical. Firstly, they suffer from the significant disadvantage of being a long way from London, where fashions are set. Secondly, no coherent ‘north country’ has been invented in its own right: it exists mainly in contrast to southern England, which is seen as fat, affected and, above all, ‘soft’.


pages: 361 words: 105,938

The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester

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British Empire, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, mortgage debt, spinning jenny, the market place, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman

This might suggest that aspects of the religious climate into which William Smith was born—and that he was to help start changing—are now starting to return. * Smith was to feel somewhat embarrassed in later years about his forebears’ determined ordinariness, and he tried long and hard to prove that through his mother he was a descendant of Sir Walter Raleigh. He convinced no one and eventually abandoned the quest. * James Hargreaves, whose mechanical spinning jenny was destroyed by fearful proto-Luddites, and Samuel Crompton, whose spinning mule was a hybrid of its two predecessors, came only a little later. * William Smith was born during the administration of the sixth and least distinguished, the duke of Grafton, who acted as caretaker between the administrations of William Pitt the Elder and Lord North. † The radical politician in whose memory the famous actor Junius Brutus Booth named the son who would assassinate Abraham Lincoln in April 1865


pages: 323 words: 92,135

Running Money by Andy Kessler

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Andy Kessler, Apple II, bioinformatics, British Empire, business intelligence, buy low sell high, call centre, Corn Laws, family office, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, interest rate swap, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pets.com, railway mania, risk tolerance, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Toyota Production System

In 1733, John Kay patented a wonderful device called the flying shuttle, and loom productivity popped. So much so that in 1755, a mob broke into John Kay’s house and destroyed one of his flying shuttle looms. While weaving got faster, making thread or yarn was still old-fashioned. Now weavers demanded more yarn of higher quality. Cheap cotton from the New World began to make inroads against itchy wool and even comfortable but expensive silk. In 1764, James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny, which Pressure Drop 65 wound strands of cotton into thread. Around the same time, Richard Arkwright invented and patented a device named the Spinning Frame to wind thread into bundles of yarn. Although the Spinning Frame was originally designed to be hand cranked, Arkwright ended up needing horses to operate it, and even they proved not to be powerful enough, so he moved the whole thing riverside, changing the machine’s name to a Water Frame.


pages: 561 words: 114,843

Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg

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airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Broken windows theory, crowdsourcing, deskilling, fear of failure, high batting average, high net worth, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, James Hargreaves, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, pattern recognition, performance metric, pets.com, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype

After Steve Jobs died, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article claiming that he’d built the world’s largest company by doing exactly that: tweaking other people’s ideas, from the graphical user interface (from Xerox PARC) to the digital music player (do you remember the Diamond Rio?). This might not seem all too glamorous, but, Gladwell points out, it is essential to real growth: In 1779, Samuel Crompton, a retiring genius from Lancashire, invented the spinning mule, which made possible the mechanization of cotton manufacture. Yet England’s real advantage was that it had Henry Stones, of Horwich, who added metal rollers to the mule; and James Hargreaves, of Tottington, who figured out how to smooth the acceleration and deceleration of the spinning wheel; and William Kelly, of Glasgow, who worked out how to add water power to the draw stroke; and John Kennedy, of Manchester, who adapted the wheel to turn out fine counts; and, finally, Richard Roberts, also of Manchester, a master of precision machine tooling—and the tweaker’s tweaker. He created the “automatic” spinning mule: an exacting, high-speed, reliable rethinking of Crompton’s original creation.


pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional

That model builds on the ‘Ricardian model of the labor market’, set out in Daron Acemoglu and David Autor, ‘Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings’, in Handbook of Labor Economics, Volume 4, Part B, ed. David Card and Orley Ashenfelter (2011), 1043–171. 28 The spirit of their anxieties is shared with the original nineteenth-century ‘Luddities’ (whose name derives from their declared support for Ned Ludd, an East Midlands weaver who smashed a set of framing machines in anger and in fear in the early tremors of the Industrial Revolution). The Luddites viewed James Hargreaves’s spinning jenny in the nineteenth century with the same anxious suspicion that today’s pessimists view Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web in the twenty-first century. See Eric Hobsbawm and George Rudé, Captain Swing (2001). 29 David Autor, ‘Polanyi’s Paradox and the Shape of Employment Growth’, NBER Working Paper 20485, National Bureau of Economic Research (2014). 30 Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (2014).


Investment: A History by Norton Reamer, Jesse Downing

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, colonial rule, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the telegraph, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, land tenure, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, margin call, means of production, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Own Your Own Home, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, statistical arbitrage, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Vanguard fund, working poor, yield curve

Coupled with this was the availability of resources, a willingness to innovate, and technological advances that together helped enable this transformation in industry. For instance, Johannes Gutenberg’s revolutionary printing press of the fifteenth century clearly facilitated the diffusion of knowledge that made the Industrial Revolution—and its necessary technological innovations and inventions—possible in the first place. Among the other facilitating technologies of the Industrial Revolution was James Hargreaves’s spinning jenny, a spinning frame with multiple spindles that vastly increased production volume in the textile industry. Combined with the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny took the textile industry into the next competitive era. James Watt’s late eighteenth-century steam engine changed most industries using mechanical power, especially transportation and agriculture, quite significantly.


pages: 565 words: 164,405

A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein

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Admiral Zheng, asset allocation, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, British Empire, call centre, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Corn Laws, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Doha Development Round, domestication of the camel, double entry bookkeeping, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Gini coefficient, ice-free Arctic, imperial preference, income inequality, intermodal, James Hargreaves, John Harrison: Longitude, Khyber Pass, low skilled workers, non-tariff barriers, placebo effect, Port of Oakland, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, working poor

Just a dozen years after the passage of the act of 1721, John Kay perfected the flying shuttle, which doubled weavers' productivity. This served to increase the demand for thread, whose spinning was more difficult to mechanize. In 1738, Lewis Paul and John Wyatt patented the first mechanical spinning machine, but no commercially feasible device became available until the mid-1760s, when such machines were invented by James Hargreaves, Richard Arkwright, and Samuel Crompton. (These were, respectively, the spinning jenny, the water frame, and the mule, the latter so-called because it was a hybrid of the first two.)55 As the economic historian Eric Hobsbawm famously said, "Whoever says Industrial Revolution says cotton." The new machines that were the heart of the great transformation made redundant untold thousands of spinners and weavers, who engaged in spasms of "machine breaking" in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries before finally disappearing into the new mills.56 (The term "Luddite" derives from the probably fictional leader of the machine-breaking riots in the 1810s, Ned Ludd.)


pages: 410 words: 114,005

Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes--But Some Do by Matthew Syed

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Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, British Empire, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, deliberate practice, double helix, epigenetics, fear of failure, fundamental attribution error, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, Isaac Newton, iterative process, James Dyson, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Lean Startup, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, Wall-E, Yom Kippur War

But there is a problem with the linear model: in most areas of human development, it severely underestimates the role of bottom-up testing and learning of the kind adopted by the Unilever biologists. In his book The Economic Laws of Scientific Research, Terence Kealey, a practicing scientist, debunks the conventional narrative surrounding the Industrial Revolution: In 1733, John Kay invented the flying shuttle, which mechanized weaving, and in 1770 James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny, which as its name implies, mechanized spinning. These major developments in textile technology, as well as those of Wyatt and Paul (spinning frame, 1758), Arkwright (water frame, 1769), presaged the Industrial Revolution, yet they owed nothing to science; they were empirical developments based on the trial, error and experimentation of skilled craftsmen who were trying to improve the productivity, and so the profits, of their factories.5 Note the final sentence: these world-changing machines were developed, like Unilever’s nozzle, through trial and error.


pages: 456 words: 123,534

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris

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air freight, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman

To use in cloth, they first must be cleaned and straightened; then a “spinster,” using the traditional spinning wheel, would repeatedly draw the fibers out under finger pressure while twisting them for strength. Drawing up machinery to replicate hand-spinning was relatively straightforward, but actually building machines that could manipulate the threads more or less as humans did, and without breaking them, took years of trial-and-error experiment. The first successful spinning machine was the jenny, built in 1767 and driven by a hand crank. James Hargreaves, a weaver, worked out a method of holding the rough cotton, or roving, with pins, while a bar stretched out and twisted the fibers. It worked well enough that an early demonstration provoked a riot by the local hand-spinners. But by the 1780s, many cottage hand-spinners were using twelve-and twenty-four-spindle jennies. A twelve-spindle jenny cost about seventy times as much as a spinning wheel, so the productivity pickup must have been very high.


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

The goal was to mechanize the movements made by the hands and arms of the spinners and weavers. Four men, working independently, transformed textile making with their inventions of the spinning jenny, the spinning mule, and the power loom, all designed to speed up the process of turning wool into thread and thread into cloth. Their differing success epitomizes the mixed fate of inventors. Both James Hargreaves and Thomas Arkwright came up with the spinning jenny, a simple device that multiplied the spindles of yarn spun by one wheel. Once it was in operation, the number of additional spindles went quickly from eight to eighty. Hargreaves was a weaver, but Arkwright had better connections to backers and was able to set up a factory where he successfully brought six hundred workers, many of them women and children, under one roof.


pages: 651 words: 180,162

Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Air France Flight 447, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discrete time, double entry bookkeeping, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, financial independence, Flash crash, Gary Taubes, Gini coefficient, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, informal economy, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral hazard, mouse model, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transaction costs, urban planning, Yogi Berra, Zipf's Law

Kealey presents a convincing—very convincing—argument that the steam engine emerged from preexisting technology and was created by uneducated, often isolated men who applied practical common sense and intuition to address the mechanical problems that beset them, and whose solutions would yield obvious economic reward. Now, second, consider textile technologies. Again, the main technologies that led to the jump into the modern world owe, according to Kealey, nothing to science. “In 1733,” he writes, “John Kay invented the flying shuttle, which mechanized weaving, and in 1770 James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny, which as its name implies, mechanized spinning. These major developments in textile technology, as well as those of Wyatt and Paul (spinning frame, 1758), Arkwright (water frame, 1769), presaged the Industrial Revolution, yet they owed nothing to science; they were empirical developments based on the trial, error, and experimentation of skilled craftsmen who were trying to improve the productivity, and so the profits, of their factories.”


pages: 796 words: 242,660

This Sceptred Isle by Christopher Lee

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agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, failed state, financial independence, glass ceiling, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, Northern Rock, Ronald Reagan, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, urban decay

Jonas Hanway wanted an Act of Parliament that would make London parishes and poor children under the age of six in the country to be nursed. Hanway was not much interested in the Englishness of the infants, only that 47 per cent died before the age of two. While social pleading depended on debate and Parliament’s whim, the industrial upheaval brought added miseries. Take, for example, the plight of hand spinners. In 1765 James Hargreaves, a carpenter and weaver, produced his most famous invention and named it after his wife. It was to be called the spinning-jenny. By using eight spindles driven by a great wheel, Hargreaves revolutionized the methods of the textile industry. And just like those who, 200 years on, viewed automation with dismay, the spinners understood perfectly that their livelihoods would never be the same again.