The Lowell device was a labor production model invented by Francis Cabot Lowell in Massachusetts in the 19th century.

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The system was draft so the every step of the manufacturing procedure was done under one roof and the occupational was perform by young adult women instead of youngsters or young men.

The Lowell System, i m sorry is also sometimes referred to as the Waltham-Lowell System, was an initial used in the Waltham and Lowell textile mills during the commercial revolution.

This design was so effective that Lowell’s business associates expanded and also opened countless textile mills in Massachusetts using this model.

Why did Lowell develop the Lowell System?

According to the Life and Times of Francis Cabot Lowell through Chaim M. Rosenberg, Lowell want to develop a manufacturing procedure that was an ext efficient and one that benefited native the morals, education and strong work ethic of brand-new Englanders:

“Francis Cabot Lowell, wealthy from birth and also sheltered native the roughness of life, thought that success pertains to those who work-related hard and failure is a personal weakness. His vision the the American textile factory differed from what he witnessed in good Britain. America go not have actually a domestic cotton textile industry but depended on fabric imported from great Britain and India. The manufacturing facility he plan to develop near Boston would certainly create brand-new jobs fairly than replace house spinners and also weavers. Lowell had an excellent faith in the civilization of new England together the resource of his labor force and believed ‘that the character of our population, educated, moral and also enterprising can not fail to secure success.’ His workers would it is in housed and also fed through the agency and stay employed just a few years rather than type a permanently downtrodden underclass.”

How go Lowell gain the Idea because that the Lowell System?

Lowell obtained the idea to build textile mills during his pilgrimage to brothers in 1811. Britain to be the birthplace that the Industrial revolution and that many brand-new textile mills motivated Lowell to construct similar, yet better, mills in the joined States, follow to the book introduction of the power Loom, and Origin that Lowell by Nathan Appleton:

“My link to the cotton Manufacture takes date from the year 1811, when I met my friend Mr. Francis C. Lowell, in ~ Edinburgh, wherein he had been passing part time v his family. We had regular conversations top top the topic of the cotton Manufacture, and also he educated me that he had actually determined, prior to his go back to America, to visit Manchester, because that the purpose of obtaining all possible information ~ above the subject, through a view to the introduction of the enhanced manufacture in the joined States. Ns urged the to do so, and promised him my co-operation. He changed in 1813. He and also Mr. Patrick T. Jackson, involved me someday on the Boston exchange, and also stated the they had determined to develop a noodle manufactory, that they had actually purchased in Waltham, (Bemis’ record mill,) and also that they had acquired an plot of incorporation, and also Mr. Jackson had agreed to offer up all various other business and also take the monitoring of the concern.”

During Lowell’s expedition to England, the toured the mills and memorized the design of the strength looms. After returning to the U.S., he developed the Boston Manufacturing firm in 1813 and the firm built its very first mill next to the Charles river in Waltham, massive in 1814.


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Boston manufacturing Company, 1813-1816, Waltham, Ma, engraving by Elijah smith circa 19th century


The Waltham mill was the an initial mill in the United claims that could process raw cotton into finished cloth in one procedure and every under one roof through the help of the water-driven power loom, i m sorry is one apparatus offered to weave yarn or thread into finished cloth.

Up until the time of the industrial Revolution, looms to be powered through a human being via a foot pedal but the power impend was mechanized and also powered through a line pillar driven by a resource of running water, such as a river, which sped up the weaving procedure significantly. As a result, the power impend is considered one the the most crucial inventions that the commercial revolution.

The Lowell device was different from various other textile manufacturing systems in the country at the time, such as the Rhode Island mechanism which rather spun the cotton in the factory and also then farmed the spun cotton out to neighborhood women weavers who developed the finished fabric themselves. Contrasted to these various other textile mills, the Lowell system was unprecedented and revolutionary for its time, follow to the publication Life and also times of Francis Cabot Lowell:

“Francis Cabot Lowell was hardly alone in his initiatives to build a cotton textile sector in America. His system, however, differed markedly native Philadelphia homespun or the craft-factory design used in Rhode Island. Lowell’s industrial order ‘came to overcome the cotton sector significant a radical exit from all that had actually gone before. In his 1864 book, Samuel Batchedler contrasts Francis Cabot Lowell’s mechanism with Samuel Slater’s Rhode Island system. Slater ran tiny spinning mills, using duplicates of the English machinery, while Lowell developed new machines for his huge factory and also did spinning and also weaving under strength all under one roof. Slater offered the labor of local families while Lowell employed healthy young women, housed and also fed at the company’s expense and paid salaries in cash. Slater adhered to the old craft device while Lowell constructed labor-saving machines that forced only a couple of weeks of training to understand the recurring tasks. Slater built little mills v a small variety of spindles, if the mill at Waltham included thousands that spindles and also several looms watched over by numerous workers. The conservative Slater clung to his tried-and-true approaches of manufacturing while Lowell leaped ahead v his modern-day factory using the machines of mass production. In ~ Lowell’s mill raw cotton come in in ~ one end and finished fabric left at the other.”

This Lowell mechanism was faster and more efficient and completely revolutionized the textile industry. That eventually ended up being the design for other manufacturing industries in the country.

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The Lowell Mill Girls:

One that the troubles Lowell faced in setting up his factory was recognize workers. At the time, America to be an agricultural culture and plenty of Americans were unconvinced to job-related in a factory, according to the book Encyclopedia of the industrial Revolution:

“Another difficulty the Waltham system was may be to fix was the difficulty of labor. While european factories relied upon large, landless, urban populaces whose dependency on the fairy system offered them few economic choices, land to be readily accessible to most Americans who desired it. Together a result, american were generally unwilling to occupational in manufacturing facility conditions, preferring instead the financial independence of agricultural labor. Many Americans, in fact, experienced the European factory system as inherently corrupt and abusive. Additionally, since the American populace was small, hired labor was expensive. In stimulate to address this problem, Lowell design a brand-new business strategy to entice labor. As mill machinery greatly diminished the need for extreme human strength, Lowell did not necessarily require workers that were physically strong, but instead necessary workers that can be hired cheaply. Lowell discovered his employees in the girls and young females of the bordering countryside. These young women had experience in weaving and spinning from home manufacturing and also worked for cheaper wages than did masculine employees.”

The Lowell system developed a new means to manage the job supply. The mill rental young, single women, between the periods of 15 and 35.

In bespeak to guide young ladies to leaving their ranches and tiny towns to job-related at the mills, Lowell produced a factory neighborhood by building boardinghouses that were operation by chaperones who implemented strict ethical codes and he likewise made attendance of spiritual services mandatory, follow to the publication The Encyclopedia that the war of 1812: A Political, Social, and also Military History:

“The Lowell System compelled hiring the young (usually single) women in between the eras of 15 and 35. Single women were chosen because they might be paid less than men, therefore increasing this firm profits, and because they can be an ext easily regulated then men. This mill girls, as they to be called, were required to live in company-owned dormitories surrounding to the mill and were supposed to adhere come the quite strict moral code of command espoused through Lowell. They were oversaw by older women, called matrons, and also were supposed to work diligently and also attend church and educational classes. The young women would job-related a grueling 80-hour work-related week. Lowell believed his system alleviated the deplorable working problems he witnessed in England and helped the to keep a chop rein ~ above his employees. By law so, he grew employee loyalty, retained wages low, and also assured his stockholders accelerating profits. Although Lowell’s labor setup was very discriminatory and also paternalistic contrasted to modern standards, the was seen as revolutionary in that is day. A huge number the young mill girls went ~ above to end up being librarians, teachers, social workers, etc., many thanks in large part to the education and learning they obtained while working at the mill; thus, the system did produce benefits because that the workers and also the larger society.”