1600-1799

1794 - Cotton gin

Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin, which automates the process of separation cotton seed from short-staple cotton fibre.

1791 - Heated factories

James Watt heats his factories through piped steam. He patents this method in the same year.

1787 - Steamboat

American clock-maker John Fitch demonstrates the first steamboat.

1779 - Spinning mule

Samuel Crompton invents the spinning mule (or cotton mule), allowing for greater control over the weaving process. It allows extremely fine yarn to be produced, allowing muslin to be made; previously this could only be made using hand-spun yarn from India.

1778 - Water closet

Joseph Bramah patents his water closet. The design was a success and production continued well into the 19th century. His original water closets are still working in Osbourne House, Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight.

1769 - Steam wagon

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot demonstrates a 'steam wagon', predecessor to the first automobile.

1769 - Spinning frame

Richard Arkwright invents a spinning frame (or water-frame) adapted to use water power. This made much cheaper manufacture possible, subsequently a great expansion of the cotton industry followed.

1764 - Spinning Jenny

James Hargreaves invents the Spinning Jenny (or multi-spool spinning frame). This invention allows faster production of cotton products.

1757-1769 - Watt steam engine

James Watt patents his steam engine with separate condenser in 1769. Work begun in 1757. Also known as the Boulton & Watt steam engine.

1755 - Sewing machine

The first recorded patent for a sewing machine is issued. It is a British patent issued to German Charles Weisenthal.

1733 - Flying shuttle

John Kay invents the flying shuttle. This device makes mass production of textiles a possibility for the first time.

1712 - Newcomen steam engine

Thomas Newcomen develops a working atmospheric steam engine, the first of its kind.

1698 - Savery steam engine

Thomas Savery invents a basic steam engine.

1690 - Piston

Denis Papin uses steam to move a piston.

1673 - Huygens motor

Christiaan Huygens builds a gunpowder explosion-driven motor.

1629 - Branca steam turbine

A primitive steam turbine is developed by Giovanni Branca.

1620-1624 - Submarine

Cornelius Drebbel invents the first submarine, a human-powered submersible. He holds successful trials in the Thames in 1624.