The spinning mule was invented in 1779 by Samuel Crompton; it spins textile fibres into yarn. The self-acting (automatic) spinning mule was developed in the 1830s. The mule was the most common spinning machine from 1790 until about 1900 and was still used for fine yarns until the early 1980s.
Home spinning was the occupation of women and girls, but the strength needed to operate a mule caused it to be the activity of men. Hand loom weaving, however, had been a man’s occupation; in the mill it could (and was) done by girls and women.
Relation to Textiles:
The spinning mule was the second advance in the spinning industry, and flipped the gender balance of spinning twice; the manual mule made spinning a mostly male operation, while the automatic mule once again made spinning a mostly female operation.
The spinning mule was a direct combination of the spinning jenny and the water frame, but Crompton, the inventor, never patented it – he instead sold the rights to Dale, a Scottish businessman, who patented it and profited from it.
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