The Modern Times

July 1,1851

The New Mill Inventors

Factory owners have greatly helped shape the United States economy. With the invention of the water frame by Richard Arkwright, the mills have helped create jobs and have helped other farmers make more money than on the farms. These new machines helped make products more efficient along with having entirely new processes. Samuel Slater has helped further improve the textile machines. Slater, from England, had worked for a mill with machines far more advanced than the ones here in United States. He understood that Britain had far better machines than the U.S, and memorized the machines and wore a disguise as a farmer as he immigrated to the U.S. He is here now and owns many textile mills.

Eli Whitneys Career

In 1798 Eli Whitney tried to solve the problem of making more muskets quicker and better. Eli Whitney knew factories needed better technology (tools used to produce items or to do work), so he gave U.S officials a proposal for producing a mass amount of guns for the U.S gov. using water powered machinery. Not too long ago, Whitney quoted…

“ I am persuaded that machinery moved by water adapted to this business would greatly produce the labor and facilitate the manufacture of this article”

Whitney also wasn’t done inventing. He came up with the idea of interchangeable parts which made machines easier to assemble and broken parts easier to replace. Interchangeable parts sped up mass production, the efficient production of large numbers of identical goods. Whitney promised to build ten thousand muskets in two years. Because of Whitney's success, The federal government gave him money to build his factory in 1801.

Workers Lives Changing Drastically!

As factories and mills were established, the way people work changed drastically. Workers no longer needed the specific skills to run these machines of new mills. Resistance to these changes sometimes sparked protests. Mill owners in the U.S found it hard to find people to work for them because lots of other jobs were available. Samuel Slater and his 2 partners used apprentices that were young men who learned to trade and do easy jobs at the mill. A current apprentice, James Horton ran away from Slater's mill. “ Mr Slater always kept me at one thing. I might’ve stayed there until this time and never knew nothing” Horton said. On mostly all farms children worked to help their families, so most didn’t complain about working in factories. Mill owners made profit because they payed children low wages. Adults earned as much in a day as children did in a week.

Trade Unions Begin And Labor Is Trying To Reform

Skilled workers were afraid of losing their jobs. So, they formed trade unions, groups that tried to improve pay and working conditions. Unskilled workers eventually formed trade unions. employers didn’t want to hire union workers. Sometimes LABOR unions staged protests called strikes. Workers on strike refuse to work until employers meet their demands. Most strikes weren’t successful because court and police supported companies.

Sarah G. Bagley founded the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association in 1844 and publicized the struggles of factory workers. She wanted to influence an investigation of working conditions to the Massachusetts state legislature and obtain a 10 hour workday. Bagley not only wanted public businesses to do a 10 hour workday but private businesses too. Most men and women worked for 12 - 14 hours a day. Business owners opposed it and men and women liked it. in 1845, Sarah was elected vice president of the New England Working Men’s Association. Many other states followed this law of 10 hours, and unions fought to end child labor.

Compare And Contrast


Francis Cabot Lowell invented the Lowell System. The Lowell System was based on water powered textile mills that employed young, unmarried women from their local farms. The System included the loom that could both spin thread and weave cloth at the same time. Similar to the Rhode Island system. From support from investors, Francis also built a town named after himself called Lowell. It also had a very large mill. The young workers got paid 2 - 4 dollars a week, and paid 1.25 for their boarding houses. Most Lowell women came from New England and worked their for 4 years. Lowell girls used their spare time to form clubs and right in their magazine.Francis Cabot Lowell completely changed the textile industry of the U.S


Samuel Slaters Strategy of hiring and dividing factory work into simple tasks became known as the Rhode Island System. To attract families to work at his mill, Slater built housing for all of the families who would work for him. He started a company store which provided all the necessary goods needed for the work. Slater paid families small amounts at a time so he could re - invest in his business. A couple days ago, Slater built a town called Slatersville. He had two houses for families, a company store, and the Slatersville mill and factory. The mill today is now the most modern and largest building of its time.

The Transportation Revolution Changes The U.S For Good

The transportation revolution was a period of rapid growth in the speed and convenience of travel because of new methods of transportation. This reduced shipping time and costs. These changes were made by the invention of steamboats and steam powered trains.

American and European inventors developed steam powered trains in the late 1700’s. However in 1803, Robert Fulton tested the first steamboat design in France. His high powered steamboat (Clermont) traveled up the Hudson river with absolutely no trouble. More and more as steamboat shipping went on, waterway rights led to conflict in the case Gibbons v. Ogden. Ogden said he owned his waterway system for steamboats.Gibbons didn’t have a license to operate in New York, but he said that his federal license gave him the right. Gibbons got his way to the Supreme court, which led to greater trade and shipping.

In the 1800’s, Steam powered trains were first developed in Great Britain. They became popular in 1830 when Peter Cooper built a small locomotive called the Tom Thumb. The Tom Thumb raced a horse drawn railcar. The Tom Thumb change got off to a small start and then sped up. it was a close race until the Tom Thumb broke down near the end. This race is now leading to railroad fever with Americans and Europeans building thousands of miles of track! Engineers and mechanics were challenged to build heavier, faster, and more powerful steam locomotives. By 1860, 30,000 miles of track was connected to every major city. Trains were then faster and stronger, holding good and/or people to transport. Although, riding on these new trains could be quite dangerous but adventurous. But, passengers accepted it because of its quick time.

Steamboats and railroads were a controversial change in the transportation revolution. For railroads, coal started replacing wood as a main source of power. Coal was much cheaper and less of a waste. Coal mining developed in many states because of the high demand. Even so, steel started becoming popular because steel built factories and the machines. Steel was then carried on trains to other companies. These railroads, made these cities expand and grow.

New Inventors Shock And Impress The U.S Economy

Article: Samuel F.B Morse invented the telegraph in 1832, but it was not used until 1844 because it was highly doubted. Most people thought the pulses and surges used to communicate were random and Morse just got lucky guesses. It was also very hard in order to connect the telegraph wires from place to place. Morse finally got his big break in 1844 when a telegraph wired news of presidential candidate’s nomination to politicians in Washington

during the Baltimore Democratic National Convention. The telegraph grew with the railroad, because the wires are placed on the railroads. Thousands of lines are added each year.

Most factories are run on waterpower, but some are switching to steam power now. This is now letting factories be built in places other than rivers or water falls. The owners are moving the factories to cities in order to be closer to workers and have reduced wages. This results in rural areas losing populations and cities gaining population. Mechanics shortly after, invented tools that shape metal, stone, and cut wood very accurately.

Blacksmith John Deere developed a steel plow instead of an iron plow which was a big success. Cyrus Mccormick developed a new harvesting machine which efficiently cut down wheat. These two together allowed farmers to produce a lot more wheat, corn, and other farming necessities.

There were many improvements and inventions that helped shape the United States, but some were bigger than others. The sewing machine was a major success and more convenient. Iceboxes store food that lasts longer and stay better for a longer period. Mass production helped make a lot of older products less expensive. These improvements made the United States we live in today.