In 1894 Northrop produced an automatic loom, and when the power loom became efficient, women replaced men as weavers, although there were still hand weavers in the paisley shawl trade as late as 1850. By 1812 the cost of making cotton yarn had dropped nine-tenths, and by 1800 the number of workers needed to turn wool into yarn had been reduced by four-fifths. And by 1840 the labor cost of making the best woolen cloth had fallen by at least half.
James Henry Northrop, (8 May 1856 - 12 December 1940) was born in Keighly, West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, where he worked in the textile industry. In emigrated to Boston, MA, in the USA in 1881. By 1898, working in Hopedale, Massachusetts for George Draper and Sons, he had filed several hundred patents some of which were used in the Northrop Loom. He retired at 42. He died in Santa Ana, California on 12 December 1940, at 84.
He married to Emily Driver of Keighley, Yorkshire and had 5 daughters. The Northrop loom sold well, so he was able to retire at the age of 42. He bought a fruit farm in Santa Ana, California where he grew dates and spent his time fishing.