Textile industry in England Industrial Revolution

August 30, 2022
The Industrial Revolution


Samuel Slater

Great Britain had it's Industrial Revolution well before the United States did. This is because they did not want to let their industrial ideas leave the country. They made sure industrial technology did not leave the country either. This policy was upheld for many years. Other countries, especially the United States, did not industrialize because Britain contained its ideas.

In the 1780s, American textile companies offered rewards to English mill workers to bring knowledge of textile mills to America. Samuel Slater was one of these Englishmen. Since it was illegal to export textile technology from Britain, Slater memorized the construction plans of a textile factory. Slater built the machinery for a textile mill from memory. His factory produced cotton of great quality. In the 1790s, Slater and his partners opened many other textile mills. He is considered the founder of the American textile industry because his bringing of English technology to the United States began the Industrial Revolution.

Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin

When Eli Whitney moved to Georgia in 1792, he saw slaves work relentlessly to separate cotton seeds from cotton fibers by hand. He wanted to invent a machine that would do the same task, but easily. In just a year, he invented the Cotton Gin. His cotton gin had teeth that pulled on the cotton fiber to separate the seeds. His cotton gin immediately became popular. A person could produce 50 times the amount of cotton previously produced, with the cotton gin. All southern plantations and farms demanded this new invention. These farms then supplied vast amounts of cotton to the textile mills in the Northeast. Eli Whitney's cotton gin increased cotton production from 4, 000 bales in 1790 to 1, 400, 000 bales in 1840. The only negative effect the cotton gin had on the industrial revolution was that it increased slavery, which Whitney wanted to stop.

Francis Cabot Lowell

Samuel Slater had established factories in the 1790s after building textile machinery. Francis Cabot Lowell took it a step further. In 1810, Francis Cabot Lowell visited the textile mills in England. He took note of the machinery in England that was not available in the United States, and he sketched and memorized details. One machine in particular, the power loom, could weave thread into cloth. He took his ideas to the United States and formed the Boston Manufacturing Company in 1812. With the money he made from this company, he built a water-powered mill. Francis Cabot Lowell is credited for building the first factory where raw cotton could be made into cloth under one roof. This process, also known as the "Waltham-Lowell System" reduced the cost of cotton. By putting out cheaper cotton, Lowell's company quickly became successful. After Lowell brought the power loom to the United States, the new textile industry boomed. The majority of businesses in the United States by 1832 were in the textile industry.

Lowell also found a specific workforce for his textile mills. He employed single girls, daughters of New England farm families, also known as The Lowell Girls. Many women were eager to work to show their independence. Lowell found this convenient because he could pay women less wages than he would have to pay men. Women also worked more efficiently than men did, and were more skilled when it came to cotton production. This way, he got his work done efficiently, with the best results, and it cost him less. The success of the Lowell mills symbolizes the success and technological advancement of the Industrial Revolution.

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Source: firstindustrialrevolution.weebly.com
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