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Richard Arkwright

Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) was an English inventor of the spinning frame in 1769 and the world's first water-powered mill (Derwent Valley Mills) in 1771 at Cromford, Derbyshire, developing a form of power that was the catalyst for the industrial revolution.

Born in Preston, Hertfordshire, England, he worked as a barber until he was twenty-eight years old, when he became a dealer in hair, and made money developing hair dye.

In 1768, he made a cotton spinning frame, by which, for the first time, cotton thread could be made by machinery fine and strong enough for the warp, or long threads of cloth. The next year he set up a mill worked by a horse, but before long was able to use water-power.

Many workmen and manufacturers tried to ruin him, because they saw the mill as a threat to their livelihoods.

Later in life, he taught himself the simple branches of education.