1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Strutt, Jedediah

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STRUTT, JEDEDIAH (1726-1797), British inventor and manufacturer, was born at South Normanton, Derbyshire, where his father occupied a farm, on the 28th of July 1726. He was educated at a good country school, with a view to becoming a farmer, but, showing great aptitude for mechanical arts, he was in 1740 articled for seven years to a wheelwright at Findern, near Derby. Here he lodged with a hosier, Woollatt, whose daughter he married in 1755. In the meantime he had inherited, from his uncle, the stock on a farm at Blackwell, near south Normanton, now, and probably then, the property of the duke of Devonshire. While in occupation of this farm his brother-in-law, William Woollatt, brought to his notice the efforts that had been unsuccessfully made to produce ribbed as well as plain goods on the stocking frame, and here he invented Strutt's Derby ribbing machine. Patents were taken out by Strutt and Woollatt in 1758 and 1759. Strutt went to live at Derby, and with his brother-in-law started a factory, “Derby Patent Ribs” at once becoming popular. In 1762 Strutt and Woollatt joined Samuel Need, a hosier of Nottingham, and carried on there and at Derby a very successful business. In 1768 they were approached by Richard Arkwright (q.v.), who had been recommended by Messrs Wright, bankers of Nottingham, to consult Need as to the possibilities of his cotton-spinning frame. Strutt at once realized its value, and was able to solve one or two minor difficulties which had interrupted the smooth working of the new mechanism. The firm of Arkwright, Strutt & Need started their first cotton mill at Nottingham, with horse power. Later works were erected at Cromford and, about 1780, after Strutt dissolved partnership with Arkwright, he built himself the mills at Belper and Milford, the greater part of which are still used. The partnership with Need had terminated in 1773 with the expiration of the patents. Shortly before this Strutt had made the discovery, which revolutionized the manufacture of calico, that cotton could be used throughout in its making. To house the machinery for this new invention the first fire-proof mill in England was built at Derby. In order to be near his work Strutt built, from his own designs, Milford House, near Belper, where he lived until 1795, when ill health compelled him to return to Derby. Here he died in 1797. He left three sons and two daughters.

His eldest son, William Strutt (1756-1830), was also of great mechanical ability. It was he who designed the calico factory above mentioned; he applied himself to the house-heating problem and, finally, invented the Belper stove. He also devised a self-acting spinning mule, which had however no great success. He was a fellow of the Royal Society. His son, Edward Strutt (1801-1880), was for some time M.P. for Derby, and in 1856 was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Belper of Belper.