The thing that separates a real inventor from somebody that has ideas is that an inventor knows how to envision a product by identifying the potential of a market first. The beauty of Kay’s flying shuttle was that it massively improved the machinery that was already available at the time and made it more productive. The Ancestry of John Kay The Descendants of John Kay His invention of the ‘Fly Shuttle’ or ‘Flying Shuttle’ made John Kay one of the founders of the Industrial Revolution, and put him in the history books alongside names such as Arkwright and Crompton. Robert Kay owned a woolen manufactory mill, which was quite successful even before John was born. The design of the shuttle featured bullet-shaped edges, which allowed it to gain more momentum and travel faster. John lodged two more patents – in 1738 for an ‘Engine for Raising Water, &c’ and in 1745 for a ‘Loom for Weaving Tape, &c, Kiln for Drying Malt; Apparatus for Economising Fuel in the Manufacture of Salt’ [BL*]; this last included the means for harnessing water power to drive Dutch Looms and was taken out with a Joseph Stell of Keighley, for whom it was devised [WM]. In 1728, Anne Holte gave birth to a boy named Robert Kay, who later turned out to be a successful inventor himself. John Lord made the assertion that he was born on 16th July 1704, the fifth and posthumous son of Robert Kay of Park; there is certainly an entry in the registers of St. Mary in Bury for that birth (see note), but he did not offer any proof that this was the same John. The first product of John’s fertile brain was a metal reed, where wire replaced the cane. The invention helped with speeding up the production process as well as decreasing the number of employees needed to produce more fabrics. Until this point t… This time in his life was essential for him as he learned how to take responsibility. It all started in 1733 when John Kay obtained a patent for the new machine that incorporated his flying shuttle invention. The flying shuttle was revolutionary. In 1747, John Kay successfully negotiated the sale of his patent and claims. Anyone who tried to bring these copycats to the court was fined a hefty penalty. This tendency to learn new things would be a key factor for Kay, and it enabled him to invent the flying shuttle. Firstly, John Kay possessed a great deal of knowledge about the weaving industry and the market, which he achieved through years of learning. John Kay had twelve children: his first-born child was born in 1726. John Lord ‘Memoir of John Kay: Inventor of the Fly-Shuttle’ (1908), Rita Hirst: notes from a lecture on John Kay 1983 (Bury Central Library), Wadsworth and Mann ‘The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire’ (1931), Denotes that the original document or a scanned image has been seen and verified, All material copyright © 2020 Kay Family Association. His father was a landowner but died just before John was born. He underwent an apprenticeship and traveled to the United Kingdom. So you're sitting on a great invention. Improvements in your inventions are the best protection. It allowed a single weaver to weave much wider fabrics, and it could be mechanized, allowing for automatic machine looms. Initially, it was trendy in Yorkshire, but the word rapidly spread of a revolutionary design that massively improves the production process. Where a broad-cloth loom previously required a weaver on each side, it could now be worked by a single operator. Early Years Kay was born on June 17, 1704, in the Lancashire hamlet of Walmersley. Know precisely when things can be improved. Hopefully, his story can inspire many aspiring inventors out there – there are many lessons to be learned from John Kay and the Flying Shuttle. Robert was an influential man; he was a yeoman and also owned the Park estate where John was born. To understand the flying shuttle better, we must first inspect how the looms operated before the flying shuttle was invented. We should first examine his life and how he became an inventor. The flying shuttle would also prove to be a significant influence on the social development of the world in the time during the Industrial Revolution. He lived a troubled life, especially after his invention of the flying shuttle. Other pictures on this page are of the John Kay memorial in Bury. In the process of weaving, the shuttle is the spool on which the yarn that forms the weft is carried as it is passed to and fro through the warp. His decision to leave England was further reinforced by his inability to protect his patent and make a profit from it. It considerably sped up the production process within the weaving industry. When deciding on how to best protect your invention idea or product be sure to seek professional legal advice. The flying shuttle, which was patented by John Kay (1704–c. He visited in 1765-6 when he exhibited his carding machines to the Society of Arts, and was back again in 1773, but that seems to have been for the last time. Like his father, he dealt with improving weaving looms. But some of those visits were during the Seven Years War between Britain and France, and he was regarded with acute suspicion by his countrymen who saw him as working with the enemy [RH]. Richard Haberkern. Fortunately for John, he inherited the business acumen of his father. Kay thought that existing looms, especially the larger ones, were operating very inefficiently. John Kay did not get the appreciation that he deserved in his lifetime, but we can certainly admire him as an inventor now. So what do we know about John Kay? Interestingly enough, John Kay, born in England, was often nicknamed “the Frenchman” due to his involvement in the French manufacturing in his late life. The patent was so productive and intriguing that many people tried to copy it. By 1754 he had produced two machines, one to pierce holes in the leather of the card and the other to cut and sharpen the wires. Julia Mann described him as ‘vain, obstinate and suspicious’ while the French government said of him “he possessed the inconvenient quality of being difficult to manage” [WM]. ), Industrial Revolution Child Labor - Questions and Key (8 Pages), Industrial Revolution Child Labor - PowerPoint with Cloze Notes (64 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution in the USA - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (74 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Impacts - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (62 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Causes - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (44 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Working Conditions - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (36 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Why Britain Was First - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (54 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Living Conditions - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (30 Total Slides), Industrial Revolution Inventions and Inventors - PowerPoint with Notes Copy (100 Total Slides), https://www.historycrunch.com/flying-shuttle-invention-in-the-industrial-revolution.html#/. The flying shuttle and other subsequent inventions would become driving forces of the Industrial Revolution. The definitive work on John’s life can be found in the two chapters on John Kay by Julia Mann in ‘The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire’ (1931). Rita has been an invaluable source of help and advice to many Kay researchers over the years; she says she has sworn off Kays now, but even in retirement she continues to guide us. This innovation massively improved the existing looms by speeding up the production process and halving the number of workers required to work a large loom. Many people are not aware of John Kay, but he was a significant contributor to the progress made during the Industrial Revolution. He married Ann Holt on 29th June 1725, and in March of the next year, the young couple moved to Bury where he set up trade as a reedmaker; the settlement certificate for that move dated 17th March 1725/6 still exists [BCL*]. The original looms used a bobbin to which weft yarn was attached. During this time, John managed his business as well as developing some interesting patterns that turned out quite successful. The life of John Kay undoubtedly improved after this invention as he amassed quite a lot of wealth, but his life was not without challenges. A significant influence in his life and on his development was certainly his involvement in his father’s company. On occasion, Kay returned to England but was not welcome there. Shortly after the invention, the flying shuttle was quickly us… John Kay was treading unexplored ground as he was one of the first inventors of the 18th century that inspired even more inventions. In France, John went to Abbeville to the Dutch firm of Scalonge where he started negotiations with the French government. Flying Shuttle. All seems quiet for a while with his invention being taken up in a number of provinces [WM], and he had three of his sons – Robert (aged 24), James (aged 14) and John (aged 12) – with him in Paris by 1752 [RH]. But who was the man behind this revolutionary invention? A settlement was finally reached in 1749, and John agreed to bring his sons over from England to help him.
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