John Kay was the son of wool manufacturer from Bury Lancashire. He was managing one of his fathers plants when he patented " New Engine Machine for Opening and Dressing Wool". The patent including what became known as the Flying Shuttle. Looms are used to interlace two sets of yarns or thread together in order to create cloth. Until Kay's invention it was neccessary to move the loom by hand through the yarn. As a result the work was slow and the size of the clothe was limited to the length of the a man's arm. Kay's shuttle moved on wheel's on a track and could be pulled by a cord. Thanks to the shuttle one man could now produce the work of two, and the size of the clothe was no longer limted to the length of a man's hand.
Workers hated the shuttle, fearing they would lose jobs. The manufacturers embraced the inventions but refused to pay Kay royalties. He spent his money defending his patent and died a poor man.