He grew up around the mills of England, and worked in them from the age of fourteen to twenty-one. That is when he finished an apprenticeship and wanted to open his own mill. But coming up with the money was a problem. He’d heard the United States awarded about $500 to the designer of a cloth-making machine and was sure there were opportunites for him there. However, the English, being protective of their healthy profits, made it illegal to send textile machinery, or plans for it, out of England. In Samuel Slater’s Mill: And the Industrial Revolution you’ll learn how young Slater played the part of a farmer to get out of England with all those machinery designs safely tucked away—in his head.
The book goes on to describe Slater’s partnerships, machines, workers (lots of children), and his growing business. It grew so much, in fact, that he was worth the amazing sum of $1,200,000 when he died! The effects of this sixty-year revolution are also discussed from the population’s shift from country to city and from farmer to wage earner as well as the pressure put on the south to produce more cotton with slave labor.
Acivity: Watch this video and then weave your own textile creation.