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John Kay, English inventor, c 1755.

Lithograph of John Kay (1704-1764), who patented the flying shuttle in 1733, revolutionising the weaving industry. The fly shuttle speeded up the weaving process (the shuttle no longer had to be laboriously passed by hand across the loom) and made possible the weaving of broader cloth. Previously the width of the cloth was restricted by the span of the weaver's arms. Kay was mobbed by weavers who regarded his invention as a threat to their jobs and he left for France where he died in poverty.

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Credit © Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved.
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