Profile of Samuel Slater
While American historians hail his work, some have asked whether
Hi I'm Zach Toombs for About.com, and today we're profiling the life and work of the "Founder of the American Industrial Revolution," Samuel Slater.As a young man living in England, Slater learned that in America, cash prizes were being awarded to people who could invent improvements to America's textile industry. Having worked at a mill he knew a lot about the business, and was very familiar with the machines designed by Richard Arkwright, so in 1789 Samuel Slater left for America.After offering his services to Moses Brown in Rhode Island, he arrived in Pawtucket in 1790 and set to work building textile machinery, and by the end of that year had built carding, drawing and roving machines. The American spinning industry was born, and a water-powered mill was built in 1793. A few years later another mill was built, and then in 1806, yet another. By 1809, spinning mills were in operation around the country, firmly establishing the industry. Historians credit him with creating a system of tenant farms around his mills in an effort to move and find work for entire families.But while American historians hail his work, some have asked whether he betrayed England. At the time, it had been illegal to leave England with textile trade secrets, so when he left the country he was disguised as a farmer. Samuel Slater died in April of 1835. The Slater Mill still stands today.Thanks for watching our profile of industrialist Samuel Slater. For more, visit About.com.