1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Paterson
PATERSON, a city and the county-seat of Passaic county, New Jersey, U.S.A., in the north-eastern part of the state, on the west bank of the Passaic river, and 16 m. N.W. of New York city. Pop. (1880), 51,031; (1890), 78,347; (1900), 105,171; (1906, estimate), 112,801; (1910), 125,600. Of the total in 1900, 38,791 were foreign-born. Paterson is served by the main lines of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the New York, Susquehanna & Western railways, and by a number of interurban electric lines. The Morris Canal was formerly important for shipping freight between Paterson and Jersey City, but has fallen into disuse. The city lies along a bend of the Passaic river, the southern portion being in a plain and the extreme northern part lying among the hills that rise from the stream near the Great Falls. The river has a descent here of about 70 ft. (of which 50 ft. are in a perpendicular fall), and furnishes water-power for manufactories. The principal public buildings are the city-hall, the post office, the county court-house and the Danforth Memorial (public library) building. Paterson is preëminently a manufacturing centre. There were, in 1905, 513 factories employing a capital of $53,595,585, and furnishing work for 28,509 employés; and the total factory product was valued at $54,673,083. The city is the centre of silk manufacturing in the United States. In 1905 it contained 190 silk-mills, and the products were valued at $25,433,245. There were also, in 1905, 27 dyeing and finishing establishments, with products valued at $5,699,295; 39 foundries and machine shops, with products valued at $2,317,185; 3 wholesale slaughtering and packing houses, with products valued at $2,206,698; and 3 jute and jute-goods factories, with an output valued at $929,319. Among the machine works are two locomotive shops, with an average capacity of three locomotives per day, and a large steel mill.
Paterson had its origin in an act of the legislature of New Jersey on the 22nd of November 1791, incorporating the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, the plan for this society being drawn up by Alexander Hamilton. As the most suitable location for its enterprise the society in the following year selected the Great Falls of the Passaic river, and named the place Paterson, in honour of William Paterson (1745-1806), a member of the state Constitutional Convention in 1776, attorney-general of New Jersey in 1776-1783, a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1780-1781, and to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (where he proposed the famous “New Jersey Plan”), a United States Senator in 1780–1790, governor of the state in 1790–1793, and an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1793 until his death. Paterson was incorporated as a township in 1831, chartered as a city in 1851 and rechartered in 1861. Three great industries—the manufacture of cotton, machinery and silk—were established in Paterson almost contemporaneously with their introduction into the United States. In 1793 the first cotton yarn was spun at Paterson in a mill run by ox-power, and in the next year, when the dams and reservoir were completed, Paterson’s first cotton factory began its operations. After 1840 the manufacture of machinery and of silk gradually supplanted that of cotton goods. Although an attempt was made to manufacture machinery in Paterson as early as 1800, there was little progress until after 1825. The building of the “Sandusky,” Paterson’s first locomotive, in 1837, marked the beginning of a new industry, and before 1860 the city was supplying locomotives to all parts of the United States and to Mexico and South America. By 1840 the silk industry had obtained a footing, and after this date there was a steady advance in the quantity and quality of the product. From 1872 to 1881 inclusive Paterson consumed two-thirds of the raw silk imported into the country.
See L. R. Trumbull, History of Industrial Paterson (Paterson, 1882).