Miller, Robert

SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
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fl. 1790s Scotland
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Scottish pioneer of improvements to the power loom.
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After Edmund Cartwright many people contributed to the development of the power loom. Among them was Robert Miller of Dumbartonshire, Scotland. In 1796 he took out a patent for an improved protector which stopped the loom altogether when the shuttle failed to enter its box, thus preventing breakage of the warp threads. The same patent contained the specification for his "wiper" loom. The wipers, or cams, worked the picking stick to drive the shuttle across, a feature found on most later looms. He also moved the sley by a cam in one direction and by springs in the other. His looms were still working in 1808 and may have formed the basis for power looms built in Lowell in the USA.
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Bibliography
1796, British patent no. 2,122.
Further Reading
R.L.Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester (provides the most detailed account of Miller's loom, with illustrations).
A.Barlow, 1878, The History and Principles of Weaving by Hand and by Power, London.
W.English, 1969, The Textile Industry, London.
D.J.Jeremy, 1981, Transatlantic Industrial Revolution. The Diffusion of Textile Technologies Between Britain and America, 1790–1830s, Oxford (illustrates Miller's influence in America).
RLH

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

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