Who was Samuel Slater and what is he famous for?
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Rhode Island became a pioneer in manufacturing in the United States. One of the individuals who played a big role in Rhode Island's economy was Samuel Slater.
Rhode Island was especially strong in textile manufacturing. The state, along with other parts of the Northeast, was part of the American Industrial Revolution, when the economy, which had been based on agriculture, became one based on machines and industries.
Slater established his first mill in 1790 on the Blackstone River in Rhode Island. It was one of the first factories in the United States. Three years later, in Pawtucket, he built Slater Mill, the first American factory to successfully produce cotton yarn with water-powered machines.
Other mills were established throughout Rhode Island and New England. By the first half of the 19th century, there were more than 100 mills in Rhode Island that employed thousands of men, women, and children. Factory owners liked to hire women and children because they could pay them lower wages than they paid men.