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Samuel Crompton


Samuel Crompton

Samuel Crompton
Born (1753-12-03)3 December 1753
10 Firwood Fold, Bolton, Lancashire, England
Died 26 June 1827(1827-06-26) (aged 73)
17 King Street, Bolton, Lancashire, England
Resting place St Peter's Church, Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, England
Nationality English
Occupation Inventor, pioneer of the spinning industry
Known for Spinning mule

Samuel Crompton (3 December 1753 – 26 June 1827) was an English inventor and pioneer of the spinning industry. Building on the work of James Hargreaves and Richard Arkwright he invented the spinning mule, a machine that revolutionised the industry worldwide.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Spinning mule 2
  • References 3
    • Notes 3.1
    • Bibliography 3.2
  • External links 4

Early life

Samuel Crompton was born at Hall i' th' Wood. Samuel had two younger sisters. While he was a boy, he lost his father, and had to contribute to the family resources by its spinning yarn. He learnt to spin on James Hargreaves's spinning jenny.[2] The deficiencies of the jenny imbued him with the idea of devising something better. For five or six years he worked in secret, the effort absorbed all his spare time and money, including that which he earned by playing the violin at the Bolton theatre.

On 16 February 1780 at Bolton Parish Church, Crompton married Mary Pimlott (or Pimbley). They had eight children including George Crompton (born 8 January 1781), who followed in the family business.

Spinning mule

The only surviving example of a spinning mule built by the inventor Samuel Crompton
Hall i' th' Wood manor house
Grave of Samuel Crompton, St Peter's churchyard, Bolton, UK

About 1779, Samuel Crompton succeeded in producing a mule-jenny, a machine which spun yarn suitable for use in the manufacture of muslin.[3] It was known as the muslin wheel or the Hall i' th' Woodwheel,[4] from the name of the house in which he and his family lived.[5] The mule-jenny later became known as the spinning mule. There was a strong demand for the yarn which Crompton was making at Hall i' th' Wood. He lacked the means to take out a patent. The prying into his methods drove Crompton to the choice of either destroying his machine or making it public. He adopted the latter alternative on the promise by a number of manufacturers to pay him for the use of the mule.[6] All he received was c. £60. He then resumed spinning on his own account, but with indifferent success.

The mule-jenny twisted the rovings using rollers in the manner of Arkwrights frame, while had spindle carriage moved back and forth 54 inches to stretch the thread, and then to gather it in the spinning spindles in the manner of Hargreaves jenny. [7] The mule's importance was that it could spin thread better than could be done by hand. This led to ever finer thread. Coarse thread (40s) sold for 14 shillings per pound of cotton- while (80s) spun on his mule sold at 42 shillings a pound.[8]

As the mule was unpatented, others soon manufactured it. The machine was constructed in iron, power was applied to assist the inward motion in 1790[3] and by 1834 it was fully automatic or self-acting.[9] A survey in 1812 showed there were between 4 to 5 million mule spindles in use. Crompton received no royalties for his invention.[10]

In 1800, a sum of £500 was raised for his benefit by subscription, and when in 1809, Edmund Cartwright, the inventor of the power loom, obtained £10,000 from parliament, Crompton determined to apply for a grant. In 1811, he toured the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and Scotland to collect evidence showing how extensively his mule was being used, and in 1812, parliament awarded him £5000.[10] With the aid of this money, Crompton started a business as a bleacher and then as a cotton merchant and spinner, but without success. In 1824, some friends and members (including Isaac and Benjamin Dobson, Benjamin Hick, John Kennedy and Peter Rothwell) of Bolton's Black Horse "prosecution" Club, bought him an annuity of £63 without his knowledge.[11][12]

Crompton died at his house in King Street, Bolton on 26 June 1827, and was buried at parish church of St Peter's.[13]



  1. ^ Timmins 1996, pp. 21,24.
  2. ^ Baines 1835, p. 159.
  3. ^ a b Baines 1835, p. 199.
  4. ^ Baines 1835, p. 202.
  5. ^ "Samuel Crompton 1753 - 1827". Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  6. ^ Baines 1836, p. 199.
  7. ^ Baines 1835, p. 198.
  8. ^ Baines 1835, p. 201.
  9. ^ Baines 1835, p. 207.
  10. ^ a b Baines 1835, p. 203.
  11. ^  
  12. ^ Collingwood. "Black Horse Hotel, Blackhorse Street". Lost Pubs of Bolton. Blogger. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Manchester Engineers and Inventors". Retrieved 2008-04-21. 


  • French, Gilbert J. (1859). The Life and Times of Samuel Crompton, Inventor of the Spinning Machine Called the Mule. London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Company. 
  • Daniels, George William (1920). The Early English Cotton Industry: With Some Unpublished Letters of Samuel Crompton. London: Longmans, Green, and Company. - contains a photograph of a statue of Crompton
  • Baines, Edward (1835), History of the cotton manufacture in Great Britain;, London: H. Fisher, R. Fisher, and P. Jackson 
  • Timmins, Geoffrey (1996), Four Centuries of Lancashire Cotton, Preston: Lancashire County Books, p. 92,  

External links

  • Essay on Crompton and the spinning mule
  • Essay on Samuel Crompton
  • The life of Samuel Crompton 1753 – 1827 at Hall i'th' Wood Museum
  • The Crompton Trail
  • Samuel Crompton and Hall 'i 'th Wood
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