Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,337 pages of information and 233,846 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Kendrew

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John Kendrew (1748-1800)

John Kendrew was a Darlington optician who invented the process of the mechanical spinning of flaxen yarn in a flax mill. He had a mill for grinding glass at Low Mill at Darlington on the River Skerne. He arranged for Thomas Porthouse, who as a clockmaker was more mechanically skilled, to build the machine, which was installed in his mill. Together they patented this machine. They then each built their own mill Kendrew's being near Houghton, presumably Houghton le Spring on the same river. They went on to licence the technology to others, so that most other flax mills were technological descendants of these.

A optician and inventor with a mill for grinding glass in Darlington. He invented a mechanical process for spinning flax which was built by clockmaker Thomas Porthouse and they patented it together, each building their own flax mill in Darlington and licencing the technology widely for use in other mills.

Kendrew grew up in the area around what is now called Kendrew Street.

He was buried in an unmarked grave in The Friends Burial Ground, off Skinnergate in Darlington.

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