Today in History
December 20, 1790
A new spin on American cotton
The first commercially-viable cotton-spinning mill with a completely water-powered mechanism in the United States begins operation in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It is built by British-born Samuel Slater, who had worked with water-powered mills in England and promises "...if I do not make as good yarn as they do in England, I will have nothing for my services, but will throw the whole of what I have attempted over the bridge." He makes good, particularly after the introduction of the cotton gin, which produced a cleaner cotton than previously available. The water-powered mill replaces slow, horse-powered mills and leads to the rapid development, in the first half of the 19th century, of the American textile industry.
Today's Feature History Article
Because of a Lewis Hine photograph, Addie Card became the poster child of child labor. But what became of Addie Card?
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