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SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Samuel Crompton (1753-1827), British inventor. Crompton was born at Firwood, near the textile town of Bolton. In 1779 he designed and built his spinning mule, a machine which produced cotton yarn of unprecedented fineness. As a result, his house was often besieged by people wanting to know the machine's secret. Unable to afford a patent, he sold the machine to a local textile company. Following the enormous success of the device, he was awarded a national grant of five thousand pounds in 1812.
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