Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/49

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39
ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF ENGINEERING.

expose their work to public gaze. How long in the silent night the inventors of these machines sat and pondered; how often they had to cast aside some long-sought mechanical movement and seek another and better arrangement of parts, none but themselves could ever know. They were unseen workers, who succeeded by rare genius, long patience, and indomitable perseverance.

More ingenuity and creative mechanical genius is perhaps displayed in machines used for the manufacture. of textile fabrics than by those used in any other industry. It was not until late in historical times that the manufacture of such fabrics became established on a large scale in Europe. Linen was worn by the old Egyptians, and some of their linen mummy-cloths surpass in fineness any linen fabrics made in later days. The Babylonians wore linen also and wool, and obtained a wide-spread fame for skill in workmanship and beauty in design. In this country wool long formed the staple for clothing. Silk was the first rival, but its costliness placed it beyond the reach of the many. To introduce a new material or improved machine into this or other countries a century or more ago was no light undertaking. Inventors and would-be benefactors alike ran the risk of loss of life. Loud was the outcry made in the early part of the eighteenth century against the introduction of Indian cottons and Dutch calicoes. Until 1738, in which year the improvements in spinning-machinery were begun, each thread of worsted or cotton-wool had been spun between the fingers, in this and all other countries, Wyatt, in 1738, invented spinning by rollers instead of fingers, and his invention was further improved by Arkwright. In 1770 Hargreaves invented the spinning-jenny, and Crompton the mule in 1775, a machine which combined the advantages of the frames of both Hargreaves and Arkwright. In less than a century after the first invention by Wyatt, double mules were working in Manchester with over 2,000 spindles. Improvements in machines for weaving were begun at an earlier date. In 1579 a ribbon-loom is said to have been invented at Dantzic, by which from four to six pieces could be woven at one time, but the machine was destroyed and the inventor lost his life. In 1800 Jacquard's most ingenious invention was brought into use, which, by a simple mechanical operation, determines the movements of the threads which form the pattern in weaving. But the greatest improvement in the art of weaving was wrought by Cartwright's discovery of the power-loom, which led eventually to the substitution of steam for manual labor, and enabled a boy with a steam-loom to do fifteen times the work of a man with a hand-loom. For complex ingenuity few machines will compare with those used in the manufacture of lace and bobbin net. Hammond, in 1768, attempted to adapt the stocking-frame to this manufacture, which had hitherto been conducted by hand. It remained for John Heathcoat to complete the adaptation in 1809, and to revolutionize this branch of industry, reducing the cost of its produce