History of Textile Industry

The origin of the textile industry dated back to the early eighteenth century in Great Britain. This makes great Britain the father of the textile industry. Great Britain dominated the textile making industry for many years; they had the monopoly of the fabric industry for several years. This monopoly was due to the fact that British textile machineries were forbidden from being exported out of Britain. Even, ordinary drawing and specification of these machineries were forbidden to be taken out of England. This made it rather impossible for other countries to develop their own textile machineries, so they had to either use their hand in weaving or depend on weaved fabrics from England.

British textile machineries include a power loom, which is a steam-powered, mechanically operated version of a regular loom for weaving. They also had the spinning frame, which could produce stronger threads for yarns and even at a faster rate.

As Britain was rollicking in this their achievement in the textile industry, America wasn’t finding it easy at all. All that was available in America then was the old hand loom, which was available in every home for making fabrics. They were trying to improve on this old ‘machinery’ and were also trying to replace the spinning wheel, which is only capable of spinning one thread laboriously at a time, with some sort of spinning machine so as to make the work go faster.

Two Scottish immigrants claimed that they had a good knowledge of the British spinning frame in 1786. They were employed to design and build same for mass production of yarn. This project was encouragingly financed by the US government. But the outcome was nothing to write home about.

Another company in Rhodes Island tried to build a spinning machine with thirty two spindles, but the outcome was also nothing interesting, as these machines failed to run well.
Then in 1790 these poorly made machines were sold to a man form Pawtucket called

Moses Brown. Brown had a partner called William Almy, with whom he produced eight thousand yards of fabric a year by hand along with the help of quite a number of hands –loom weavers. He wanted to produce more yarn but the old machineries were of no use.

Various inventors such as Samuel Slater, Francis Cabot Lowell, Elias Howe and others came to the rescue of America to help bring about the needed revolution in the textile industry.

Samuel Slater succeeded in building various cotton mills in New England and also found a town called Slatersville. He is referred to as the ‘Father of American Industry’ and also as the “Founder of the American Industrial Revolution”

The world’s first textile mill was found by Francis Cabot Lowell, he partnered with another inventor called Paul Moody to create a very efficient power loom and a spinning apparatus