Yes, we completed today. The Canary Wharf flat is now ours. Well, the bank’s really but you know what I mean. We were originally going to move Mirinda in on Wednesday but it was all too exciting and we couldn’t wait, so we’re doing it tomorrow (Saturday). Yay!
I had a great time researching today at the Science Museum. I am constantly amazed by the number of incredibly obscure people there are. I shouldn’t be really, because there has been an awful lot of people on the planet at one time or another and they can’t all be well known. However, it amazes me that there are people who do one thing, are lionised for it then slip back into obscurity. One such chap was Samuel Crompton.
In 1779, Samuel invented the Spinning Mule. No, I’d never heard of it either but, apparently, it was really, really important during the Industrial Revolution. Crompton was a one-invention type of guy but this one invention revolutionised mechanised weaving. Trouble was, poor old Crompton was a lousy businessman.
The reason he created the Mule was in order for his business to spin muslin. It was very successful. So much so that other factories would send spies to try and work out how he did it. It drove him to distraction to the point where he was determined to either destroy it or go public with it. Sadly, he could not afford the £100 to take out a patent and, while factory owners said they’d give him a bit of dosh for it, once the machine was up and running, they sort of forgot. He only managed to get around £60 all up.
He went back to spinning and, somehow, managed to get a bunch of people to pay him £500 in 1800. but then a massive blow. Another inventor, Edmund Cartwright invented the power loom and parliament gave him a grant of £10,000! Poor Samuel was a bit miffed (he was from ‘oop north’ so he probably said something a little earthier than ‘miffed’) and set about trying to claim a grant for his Mule.
He set off on a tour of the north to collect evidence of how much his Mule was being used. When it came time to present the evidence he stuffed it up a bit and, after a long wait, he eventually received £5,000. Joyously he set up a bleaching business…which failed. Unknown to Samuel, his friends clubbed together and gave him an annuity of £65.
Interestingly, while it’s very easy to feel sorry for poor old Samuel, when he needed the £100 for the patent, he gave £100 to his church, which is somewhat short sighted. While one can laud his ill-judged philanthropic gesture, it could have been a lot bigger had he taken out a patent instead.
He eventually died in 1827, sad and miserable…actually I have no idea if he died sad and miserable but I thought it an appropriate image to end on.