Samuel Slater (1768-1835) opened this water-powered cotton spinning factory in 1793. Slater had left England in 1789 with working knowledge of mechanical yarn-making, and in Pawtucket he discovered artisans with the skills necessary for starting the Industrial Revolution in the United States.
With the power of the Blackstone River, talented artisans to build his machinery, capital from Providence merchants, and workers willing to labor hard and long in the new factory, Slater set the mill in motion. From this beginning, industrialization spread throughout America.
[Illustrations, from left to right, read]
· Samuel Slater learned about cotton spinning technology in a water-powered English mill. He came to the United States in 1789 and, with considerable assistance, reproduced mechanized textile machines for use in the United States.
· Slater Mill was the model for a style of management called the Rhode Island System of Manufacture. Small, privately-financed mills were often managed by the owners. They employed entire families, including children, who worked long hours in mills filled with thick dust and the deafening clatter of machinery.
· Slater hired women and children to harness what was thought to be an under-employed labor force. This print of mechanical spinning machines called "mules" (right)
shows both the spinning of yard and different roles of the workers.