William Radcliffe was born in 1760. His family moved from farming into weaving. William was taught about carding and spinning by his father.
After marrying in 1785 Radcliffe purchased several of the spinning machines that had been developed by James Hargreaves. By 1789 his factory at Mellor, near Stockport in Lancashire, was providing the yarn for over 1,000 weavers in the area.
To improve the quality of the cloth, Radcliffe invented a machine where size was added to the yarn. This higher quality yarn was now used with the new power looms that Radcliffe had purchased. In 1804 Radcliffe also invented a ratchet wheel that when connected to a power loom, moved the cloth forward automatically.
William Radcliffe died in 1841.