Apr 15 2017

Robert Earnshaw an Extraordinary Cheshire Man(Part Three)

By The force of his natural abilities and the little instruction he could obtain, he  made himself one of the most universal mechanics the country has produced and it seems really strange Earnshaw should have lived and died so poor, when we consider the fortunes that were  afterwards made by men who invented machinery far from equal to what was invented by Earnshaw. He was possessed of an extraordinary degree of sobriety, for, according to Dr.Aiken, he did not drink a glass of ale for years after he was grown to manhood, and it is probable that his poverty was caused by his wife and family and his fear of doing  anything with his inventions  that would tend or so he thought, to take the  bread from the mouths of the poor.

In 1753 he invented a machine to open and reel cotton at the same operation, which he showed to his neighbours and then destroyed it through the generous apprenhension that it would injure the working people. A few years later, Arkwright, Crompton and others succeeded in working out ideas that  had crossed the brain Of Earnshaw, but he refused to work them out to the practical results that they were capable of. Some men blame him for acting as he did, but after all, his actions were based upon a purely benevolent feeling, which did credit to his heart, if not his judgement. He contrived an ingenious, though not elaborate, piece of machinery to raise water from a coal mine at the Hague, Mottram, but the mine did not prove worth the expense, or Earnshaw would have received some share of the profits for erecting the engine.


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