1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Slater, Samuel

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SLATER, SAMUEL (1768-1835), American textile manufacturer, was born in Belper, Derbyshire, England, on the 9th of June 1768. In 1783, the year after his father's death, he was apprenticed to Jedediah Strutt, his neighbour and a partner of Richard Arkwright in spinning cotton, and served under him six and a half years. Learning that the Pennsylvania legislature had granted £100 in 1789 to the inventor of a power carding machine, he removed to the United States in that year, but was unable because of British laws to bring with him drawings of cotton-spinning machinery. He wrote to Moses Brown of Providence, R.I., who had made unsuccessful attempts to manufacture cotton cloth, and in January 1790 on Brown's invitation went to Pawtucket, R.I., where he entered into a partnership with William Almy (Moses Brown's son-in-law) and Smith Brown, a kinsman of Moses Brown, designed (from memory) machines for cotton-spinning, and turned out some yarn in December of the same year. In 1799 he established in his mills one of the first Sunday Schools in America. In 1801 he built a factory in Rehoboth, Mass., and with his brother John, who joined him in 1804, established in 1806 the manufacturing village of Slatersville, in Smithfield township, Rhode Island. He began the manufacture of woollen cloth in 1815-1816 at Oxford, now Webster, Mass., where he had built cotton mills in 1812. In his later years he was interested in other textile mills and in iron foundries in Rhode Island. He died at Webster, Mass., on the 21st of April 1835. He has been called the “father of American manufactures” and it is no exaggeration to call him the founder of American cotton manufacturing.

See G.S. White, Memoir of Samuel Slater (2nd ed., Philadelphia, 1846).