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The Mill

The Mill

Francis Cabot Lowell founded the Boston Manufacturing Company, in Waltham, in 1813. It housed all the operations for producing finished fabric under one roof, making it one of the most advanced textile mills in the U.S. at the time. At its heart was Lowell’s brainchild, a water-powered loom.

Boston Manufacturing was the first, modern industrial corporation in America, setting standards of finance, management, technology and labor organization that gave flight to the country's new industrial revolution. Young farm girls, housed in dormitories, made up BMC's workforce. They were well paid, giving many a new-found sense of independence, despite the long hours and regimented living.

To achieve his vision, Lowell gathered under his leadership a small group of well-connected Boston businessmen who later came to be known as the "Boston Associates." They combined technological innovations, new business strategies, and a shared sense of social responsibility to create the Waltham-Lowell manufacturing system, which eventually extended to Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Saco, Maine.

The mill buildings are now elderly apartments. Housed in the complex is the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation. The museum traces the industrial revolution in America from 1813 through the middle of the 20th Century.

The photos here are limited to a few of the museum’s BMC exhibits: a big blue panel explaining why the BMC was historically so important (click or tap on it to enlarge), a working model of the famous power loom, a big bell that controlled the workers’ daily schedule, and a diorama showing the first two mill buildings along the river, with housing for the farm-girl workers behind them.

For more about the museum and its many other exhibits, visit: www.charlesrivermuseum.org/

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Photo taken on 28 July 2018 (© roncohencom / Flickr)

Related tags :
 mill, loom, cotton, textile, machinery, francis cabot lowell, modern, power, boston manufacturing company, charles river, museum, corporation, cloth, waltham, ma, usa

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