Sir Richard Arkright is usually credited with revolutionising the technical basis of cotton production between 1768 and 1792 transforming it from a cottage industry to one of worldwide proportions. Apart from developing machinery to do the work he is credited with creating the factory system and being called the father of the factory system. As Richard Arkright is credited with this title it is surprising that his was not the first factory, the first recognised is the silk mill in Derby.
Arkright did however have entrepreneur qualities such as patenting the machinery which meant he made more money out of his products as people had come to the workplace and work for him so he got all the profit from the products instead of them just taking the idea home. He was a real business man and was the first to create the idea of a workplace and a factory system. Before Arkright all textiles were produced in the home as wool was brought from the farm it gradually travelled around a village as part of a cottage system from spinners to weavers and eventually as cloth it went to town to be sold
Making cloth was usually a family skill with the women spinning and men weaving. Arkright made the whole process more efficient until in 1785 it required only one spinner and one weaver to produce 60 rolls of cloth compared to 1700 during the cottage system when the same amount of workers would produce only one roll of cloth in the same time. Also work in a factory was a lot quicker than work at home as manufacture could continue 24/7 as the workers were on shifts and Arkright could accept bulk orders which meant more profit.
Also the invention of the factory system meant that other business’ brought there cloth from Arkright as he could reliably produce huge amounts and this forced all the people left in the cottage system into his factories and his payroll as there was no business left for them. It is obvious Arkright had a huge impact by the figures showing import and export of cotton. At the new factory systems’ peak time between 1780 and 1840 cotton goods exported increased to an all time high of i?? 5, 406, 501 worth. This meant that Britain became a big player in the import/export business because of Arkright textile production.
There is much speculation to whether Richard Arkright really was the first to discover the new machine he used in his factories and whether or not he used other peoples designs without their permission also water power was used in Derbyshire even before Arkright was born so it is unsure whether he should gain so much credit for this but a conclusion to the question of Richard Arkright’s title of “father of the factory system” being worthy is that he does deserve the title as it is not about machines or the first factory but him creating the whole system, he was determined and had more “business like approach” than inventors who just sold on there inventions and his new system was quoted as “a new industrial community to change the face of society for ever” and “played a central role in the industrial revolution” and he was obviously successful in his work as he expanded his mills elsewhere including Yorkshire and Manchester. Therefore this means he deserves the title he earned and was known for.