Little is known about Lewis Paul's early life, but in his book, The History of the Cotton Manufacture (1835), Edward Baines described him as a "foreigner". In the 1730s Paul began working in Birmingham with John Wyatt on a new spinning machine. In 1738 the two men patented a Roller Spinning machine. This machine had two sets of rollers which travelled at different speeds. This drew out a sliver of wool to the right thickness before spinning it.
By 1741 this machine, powered by donkeys, was being used in a mill in Birmingham. Soon afterwards Wyatt and Paul went bankrupt. However, five of their machines were purchased by a man called Cave who installed them in his new factory in Northampton. This was the first cotton-spinning mill in history, but the Roller Spinning machine proved to be unreliable, and no one else followed Cave's example.
In 1748 Lewis Paul invented a hand driven carding machine. The devise involved a card covered with slips of wire placed round a cylinder. The idea was later developed by other inventors such as Richard Arkwright and Samuel Crompton.
Lewis Paul died in 1759.