The use of machines in place of manual labor or the use of animals. Until the 1700s there were few machines available to help people in the home, on the land, or in industry. There were no factories, only cottage industries, in which people carried out work, such as weaving, in their own homes for other people. The 1700s saw a long series of inventions, initially in the textile industry, that ushered in a machine age and brought about the Industrial Revolution.
Among the first inventions in the textile industry were those made by John Kay (flying shuttle, 1773), James Hargreaves (spinning jenny, 1764), and Richard Arkwright (water frame, 1769). Arkwright pioneered the mechanized factory system by installing many of his spinning machines in one building and employing people to work them.