Boston Manufacturing Company - Origins

Origins

Since 1793, when Samuel Slater established the first water-powered successful textile spinning mill in America at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, water power had been operating machinery to process cotton fiber into yarn, which would then be outsourced to small weaving shops and private homes where it would be woven into cloth on hand-operated looms. By 1810, dozens of spinning mills dotted the New England countryside. However, cloth production was still fairly slow with this system.

While on a visit to Lancashire, England in 1810, Francis Cabot Lowell studied the workings of the successful British textile industry. He paid particular attention to the power loom, a device for which there was yet no equal in America. He knew that increased cloth production in the United States depended on such a machine. Upon his return trip to Boston in 1812, he committed the plans to memory, disguising himself as a country farmer, since the British banned export of the new technology at the time.

In September 1813 The Boston Associates purchased the Boies Paper Mill site in Waltham. With a ten foot drop in the nearby Charles River, it was an ideal location to establish the new factory they envisioned.

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