When Yarn Was Scarce There Was Less Incentive to Develop Power Looms

(p. 223) Though power looms had existed, at least in concept, for centuries (under his sketch for one, Leonardo himself wrote, “This is second only to the printing press in importance; no less useful in its practical application; a lucrative, beautiful, and subtle invention”), there was little interest in them so long as virtually all the available yarn could be turned into cloth in cottages. This fact reinforced the weaver’s independence; but it also encouraged another group of innovative types who were getting ready to put spinning itself on an industrial footing.

Source:
Rosen, William. The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention. New York: Random House, 2010.

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