From the spinning jenny to the jet engine, East Lancashire is responsible for a number of inventions used widely across the world.
THE SPINNING JENNY
It’s hard to believe that the birth of the cotton industry can be traced to Stanhill village near Oswaldtwistle. For it was here that James Hargreaves was born in 1720. A carpenter and weaver he invented the Spinning Jenny in 1764 which allowed one man to operate eight spindles at a time – the Industrial revolution had arrived.
THE JET ENGINE
The engines which keep many airliners in the skies today owe their origins to Sir Frank Whittle and the Waterloo cotton mill in Clitheroe which changed aviation history. It was here during the Second World War that Whittle and his team worked in secret, under the direction of the Rover car company, to design the prototype engine.
The Empire State Building, Blackpool Tower and the magnificent Thiepval memorial to the Missing on the Somme are all built from red Nori bricks. Whinney Hill Quarry at Clayton-le-Moors was the source of a special kind of clay which made the Nori the hardest and most resistant brick on the available.
COSWORTH DFV ENGINE
The engine which transformed Formula One and powered the likes of Graham Hill and Jim Clarke to victory was designed by Blackburn engineer Keith Duckworth. The DFV engine (it stands for double four valves) became the must-have engine for all the major racing teams.
The humble carpet cleaner, found in millions of homes, was developed by Accringtonian Richard Kenyon after a visit to America in 1880. The revolutionary sweeping machine took its name from the Ewbank area of Blackburn where the factory stood.
It’s the wallcovering that transformed the homes of Victorian England – and it was invented in Darwen. Lincrusta was the brainchild of Frederick Walton in 1877 and allowed families of more modest means to give their homes the look of intricate plaster work.
INTERACTIVE WHITE BOARDS
Seen in classrooms around the world, the interactive whiteboard has transformed the way children are taught in schools and it was pioneered by Blackburn-based Promethean.
One of the world’s first man-made fibres was developed in Accrington at the Broad Oak Works. Two chemists John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dixon developed the fibre which was patented in 1941.
The specialised plastic netting which has been used around the world at venues such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Hong Kong race track was the brainchild of Dr Brian Mercer from Blackburn. It is also used in the automotive industry.
A process invented by John Mercer from Great Harwood which transformed the calico printing industry. Mercerisation transformed the dyeing industry and produced much softer cotton than had previously been available.