The Spinning Mule
Crompton’s spinning mule is probably the most important object in the Bolton Museum collections. This is the only surviving spinning mule made by its inventor, and it dates from around 1802.
Samuel Crompton had developed his first spinning mule by 1779, and the application of this invention to industry in the early 1800s helped revolutionise the British cotton industry.
In 1812, in a petition to Parliament, Crompton reported that of the cotton spindles in daily use in Britain, 4.6 million were spinning on mules while only around 470 thousand were on other types of spinning machine.
The spinning mule led to a massive increase in the processing of raw cotton into yarn. Its arrival meant the cotton boom had begun.
To feed the hungry cotton mills a parallel slave boom occurred on the plantations of the Southern States of America.
In spite of the ocean between them, the Lancashire cotton industry and the slave system on the plantations of the Southern States were intimately linked.