The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Lowell, Francis Cabot

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LOWELL, Francis Cabot, American manufacturer: b. Newburyport, Mass., 7 April 1775; d. Boston, 10 Aug. 1817. He was graduated at Harvard in 1793 and entered on a mercantile career in Boston. During a visit to England he was seized with the idea of introducing and successfully carrying out the manufacture of cotton in America. In 1812 he began his attempts to manufacture cotton cloth, an undertaking then rendered the more difficult by the fact that the war in progress with Great Britain prevented the importation of English machinery. He finally succeeded, by the aid of Paul Moody, a mechanic of Newburyport, in making a suitable loom, and with P. T. Jackson, his brother-in-law, obtained a charter as the Boston Manufacturing Company, with $100,000 capital, and established at Waltham what is believed to have been the first mill in the United States to combine in one establishment the several operations necessary in manufacturing finished cloth from the raw cotton. He was active in introducing into the tariff act of 1816 the clause imposing a minimum duty on imported cotton fabrics. Jackson, subsequent to Lowell's death, bought a portion of Chelmsford and there located mills; and in 1826 the town was incorporated as Lowell.