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Edmund Cartwright (1743-1823), Inventor

Sitter in 4 portraits
Edmund Cartwright was a clergyman and inventor of the power loom. In 1779 he became rector of Goadby Marwood, Leicestershire, an office he held until 1808, and he was prebendary of Lincoln from 1786 until his death. A chance conversation on holiday, about the mechanisation of weaving as a way of restricting the export of cheap British yarn, changed the direction of his life. He set about designing the first power loom, which he patented in 1785. Though an extremely primitive affair requiring the strength of two strong men to operate it, the machine established the feasibility of power-loom weaving, and the underlying principle remained little changed until the twentieth century.

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Men of Science Living in 1807-8

by Sir John Gilbert, and Frederick John Skill, and William Walker, and Elizabeth Walker (née Reynolds)
pencil and wash, 1858-1862
NPG 1075


Engraving after 'Men of Science Living in 1807-8'

by George Zobel, and William Walker
engraving, 1862
NPG 1075a


Edmund Cartwright

by Thomas Oldham Barlow, after Robert Fulton
mezzotint, published 1862
NPG D11144