Gorton, Richard

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. 1790s England
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English patentee of a power loom for weaving narrow fabrics.
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In May 1791, Richard Gorton took out a patent for a new type of power-driven loom for narrow fabrics to "work one or several pieces at the same time, either by hand, lath, steam engine, or by water-machinery". The sley with the reed was worked by a crank, and the picker by a lever and cam. The shuttle-box had springs to retain the shuttle, and the warp was kept tight by weights. A stop, which was usually pushed out of the way by the shuttle entering the box, prevented the sley or lath "driving the shuttle against the piece" when the shuttle stuck in the middle. One particularly interesting feature was the sizing of the warp threads by means of brushes and a roller that turned in a square trough filled with size. This pre-dates Radcliffe's sizing machine, which is always considered the first, by a number of years. The mill in which these machines worked was at Cuckney, near Mansfield, England. In 1788 Thomas Gorton had installed one of the earliest Boulton \& Watt rotative steam engines there.
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Bibliography
May 1791, British patent no. 1,804 (power loom for weaving narrow fabrics).
Further Reading
R.L.Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester (provides an account of Gorton's patent).
S.D.Chapman, 1967, The Early Factory Masters, Newton Abbot (makes a brief mention of this invention).
RLH

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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