About 1810, Dr. Abner Landrum developed Edgefield's first major industry, a pottery factory at "Pottersville." The most famous potter in Edgefield's history was an African American slave named "Dave."
In the 1820's, Henry Schultz, a native of Hamburg, Germany, built the market town of Hamburg on the Savannah River across from Augusta. A decade later the world's longest railroad was constructed, linking Hamburg to Charleston. Unfortunately, further railroad extensions in Edgefield County were delayed for many years, with the railroad not reaching the Town of Edgefield until 1888.
The first textile manufacturing operation in the Edgefield District was started by another enterprising German immigrant, Christian Breithaupt, who built a mill in 1828 on Horse Creek at Vaucluse. In 1845 William Gregg chartered the Graniteville Company, which became the most noteworthy textile mill in the antebellum South.
Daniel Augustus Tompkins, a remarkable engineer, businessman and industrial prophet, was an Edgefield son who had a great impact on the industrialization of the entire South. He was the father of the cotton seed oil industry, and also designed and built over 200 textile mills throughout the South, including the 1896 Edgefield mill.
In the decades following World War II, a number of national companies built manufacturing plants in the county. Today, Edgefield County's economy is broadly diversified, with the agricultural, manufacturing, and service sectors each providing approximately equal measures of economic activity.