Edmund Cartwright and the Power Loom

After the invention of the power loom in 1784 it was another 40 years before Cartwright's ideas bore fruit in a reliable automatic loom, but by 1803 there were over 2,000 in use in Britain. By 1857 this number had risen to a quarter of a million. The power loom could be operated by cheap, unskilled labour; as a result many skilled workers lost their jobs, and this was a major factor in the rise of the Luddite movement in the early 19th century.

© Haydn Thompson 2020