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Spinning, craft of twisting together fibers from a mass to form strong, continuous thread suitable for weaving. The earliest method was merely to roll the fibers between hand and thigh. Later 2 sticks were used: the distaff to hold the bundle of fibers, and a spindle to twist and wind the yarn. Mechanization began with the spinning wheel, which was invented in India and spread to Europe by the 14th century. Improved weaving methods in the Industrial Revolution caused increased demand, which in turn provoked several inventions. The spinning jenny, invented by James Hargreaves (1767), spun as many as 16 threads at once. Richard Arkwright's “water frame” (1769), so-called from being water-powered, produced strong thread. Then Samuel Crompton produced (1779) a hybrid of the two—his “mule,” which had a movable carriage. One modern spinning machine is the ring-spinning frame (1828) in which the strands, drawn out by rollers, are twisted by a “traveler” that revolves on a ring around the bobbin on which they are wound.

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