1712: Thomas Newcomen patents his atmospheric engine.
1732: Jethro Tull publishes details of innovations such as the seed drill and the horse-hoe.
1733: John Kay of Bury (1704-1779) patents the Flying Shuttle. Until this point, weaving has been a slow, laborious process and the width of a piece of cloth has been limited to the stretch of a man's arms. Now, cloth can be made wider and faster. Suddenly, there is a shortage of thread to keep the weavers busy, and this leads to a search for better ways of spinning.
1738: Lewis Paul and John Wyatt take out a patent for their drafting rollers and the flyer-and-bobbin system, enabling the production of finer, more even yarns.
1742: Wyatt and Paul open a mill in Birmingham utilising their new rollers. But it is not a success.
1743: Wyatt and Paul open a spinning factory in Northampton with five machines of 50 spindles. It runs until 1764.
1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion. Scottish Jacobite army marches South led by the Young Pretender, collecting supporters in Manchester and reaching Derby before retreating North again.
1746: Battle of Culloden. The Pretender's army is beaten and he flees to the Isle of Skye.
1748: Lewis Paul and Daniel Bourn each take out a patent for a carding engine.
1751: Construction of the Sankey-St Helens Canal begins. This cut pre-dates the Duke of Bridgewater's canal by five years.
1754: John Kay invents an improved carding machine - another step in the process of mechanising the cotton industry.
1756: Start of Britain's Seven Years' War with France.
1759: Britain wins Battle of Quebec. Duke of Bridgewater begins construction of Bridgewater Canal from his coalmines at Worsley to Manchester. Coal will be brought from
1760: George III crowned King of England. Kay's eldest son, Robert, invents the drop box, allowing the use of three shuttles on one loom, each containing weft of a different colour.
1761: Bridgewater Canal reaches Manchester. Price of coal in the city is halved.
1762: Matthew Boulton opens his Soho engineering works in Birmingham.
1763: France cedes Canada to England. End of Seven Years' War.
1764: Thomas Highs of Leigh builds the first spinning jenny. Until this time, spinning has been a cottage industry, but now, one spinner can operate 16 spindles. The jenny is still small enough and cheap enough to be operated in a farmhouse, but it is the first real step towards mechanisation.
1767: Blackburn's James Hargreaves develops a spinning jenny, although his employer Robert Peel probably has much input. Thomas Highs builds a spinning machine that uses roller drafting, but Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) steals the idea.
1768: Blackburn rioters destroy spinning jennies being built by Hargreaves for Peel. Hargreaves flees to Nottingham and opens a spinning business.
1769: Arkwright patents the water frame, a development of Highs's invention, that requires concentration of labour in a mill - it is too big and power-hungry to be used in a cottage. Arkwright's roving frame and draw frame - also stolen ideas - follow by 1775, making possible a continuous cotton-spinning process powered by water, and thus leading the way to the factory system.
1770: Completion of Grand Trunk Canal, linking the Trent and Mersey. Birth of Beethoven.