John Kay

John Kay was the inventor of the flying shuttle, one of the most significant figures of The Industrial Revolution, and almost certainly one of my ancestors.

John Kay's flying shuttle
A flying shuttle, perhaps an original belonging to John Kay

The flying shuttle was a device that enabled the weaving of much wider fabrics and increased mechanisation in the weaving process. Although it was very successful in improving production in factories, it was a threat to the livelihood of spinners and weavers, and the patent was often ignored by factory owners.

It was also responsible for a rise in industrial injuries if it came loose from the machine, where there were documented cases of it striking or even blinding workers nearby.

In spite of its controversies, it became an integral part of the weaving process, and although superceded in recent years, there are still some machines in which flying shuttles are still in use to this day.

The pages on this website about John Kay have been created as it has always been believed in the family that we are related to John Kay, and I am currently in search of proving this link. We also have a flying shuttle in our possession, which could be one of John Kay’s originals.