Rebecca Beatrice Brooks December 28, 2016 march 1, 2020 3 comments on Massachusetts in the industrial Revolution

The commercial revolution fully transformed Massachusetts in the 19th century. It readjusted the economy, society, transportation, health and medicine and also led to plenty of inventions and firsts in Massachusetts history.

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The industrial transformation began in England and also eventually spread to the rest of the world, however came so late to the joined States, finally arriving in the so late 1700s and early 1800s.

The following is a list of methods industrialization impacted Massachusetts;


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Massachusetts in the commercial Revolution. Peak Image: Berkshire cotton Manufacturing company circa 1898. Bottom Left: Massachusetts basic Hospital circa 1860. Bottom Right: Boston & Maine Locomotive circa 1871.


Massachusetts Economy:

Before the industrial revolution, Massachusetts’ economic situation was based primarily on agriculture, fishing and maritime shipping.

After the industrial transformation began in England in the late 18th century, American manufacturers were identified to boost American manufacturing.

American manufacturers feared the if England continued to monopolize manufacturing and trade, America would be dependent on English imports forever and also its economic climate would suffer, follow to book the The Life and also Times of Francis Cabot Lowell by Chaim M.Rosenberg:

“America in 1794 was stuck in the period of craftmanship such together homespun, when British manufacturing was revolutionized by the industrial revolution. Great Britain kept its lead by refusing ‘to sell any kind of of her brand-new machines, and also prohibiting the exportation that parts, plans, or expert artisans.’ From these observations, Henry Wansey concluded that ‘the capability of the United states to manufacture cannot store pace, by any kind of means, through her raising population; at least for a century. It therefore follows, that she must rise in her need for international manufactures, and the Americans normally acknowledge the no nation can it is provided them as well as good Britain. Because that the year 1792, good Britain sold goods to the United states worth $15,285,428, if the United states sold products to an excellent Britain because that $9,363,416. V her growing population and an economy based on farming, Wansey foresaw America’s dependence on good Britain because that manufactured goods to continue for numerous years come come.”

When the Embargo plot of 1807 cut off imports native Britain, this required Americans to boost the lot of goods they manufactured. By 1810, the U.S. Had actually built about 50 cotton-yarn mills.

When the battle of 1812 broke out, British pearl blockaded the Massachusetts coast, completely cutting them off from the sea. This required the state to not only uncover other means to make money but likewise to supply their very own needs, an especially cloth.

As a result, this accelerated the process of industrialization in Massachusetts and textile manufacturing quickly went from being a head industry, where occupational was perform on a small scale in ~ home, to a big scale manufacturing facility system.

Massachusetts Textile Mills:

Textiles mills in Massachusetts played a pivotal duty in the industrialization that the joined States. Textile mills were the an initial manufacturers come use modern-day production methods during the Industrial transformation and for this reason textiles became the leading industry throughout this time period.

The industrial revolution was carried to America through a British-born merchant, Samuel Slater, who developed the very first successful cotton spinning mill in America in Rhode Island, and also by an American merchant, Francis Cabot Lowell, who built the first integrated noodle spinning and also weaving basic in America in Massachusetts.

Lowell, that was born in Newburyport, Mass, in 1775, to be a successful merchant who went to England in 1810, in ~ the age of 36, and was so impression by the british textile mills the it influenced him to begin his very own mills.

In 1813, Lowell and also several partners formed the Boston Manufacturing firm and presented a strength loom, based upon the brother model, that had been tweaked with many technical improvements.


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Boston production Company, 1813-1816, Waltham, Ma, sculpture by Elijah Smith, circa 19th century


The company built a big brick mill beside the Charles flow in Waltham, Massachusetts that incorporated various innovations to transform raw cotton into cloth. The mill integrated the chain of tasks under one roof, recognized as the Lowell System. This system was later adopted throughout the country and became the communication of the American manufacturing system.

Lowell passed away of an illness in 1817 and left his company to his investors. Dividends to be paid out and, in 1822, the investors began a new, and much larger, mill town, which they named Lowell in respect of their leader.

Lowell, Massachusetts is recognized as “the cradle of the American commercial Revolution” due to the fact that it was the an initial large scale manufacturing facility town in the country.​

The agency was so successful that it continued to broaden into other new England towns such together Chicopee, Mass, Lawrence, Mass and also Manchester, NH.

By the 1850s, the Boston manufacturing Company, which was by then renamed the Boston Associates, was responsible because that a 5th of America’s noodle production.

According come the nationwide Park business website, the associates’ financial success constructed a political, economic and also social empire that significantly benefited Massachusetts and also continued to promote industrialization in the state:

“Their profits allowed this tight-knit group of households – Appletons, Cabots, Lowells, Lawrences, Jacksons – to build an economic, social, and political empire. They helped develop the Boston and Lowell Railroad and also other rail lines in brand-new England. They owned regulating stock in a organize of Boston jae won institutions, allowing them come finance and insure ventures through their very own companies. As their fortunes grew, the Boston Associates turned to philanthropy creating hospitals and schools and also to politics, playing a prominent function in the Whig Party in Massachusetts. Till the civil War, the Boston Associates were new England’s leading capitalists.”

Massachusetts Hospitals:

The industrial revolution brought many advances in medicine and hospitals during this time period. Together a result, new hospitals were established, such together the Massachusetts basic Hospital, i m sorry was constructed in Boston in 1811. It was one of only three general hospitals in the United claims at the time.

According come the publication A quick Medical History, hospitals and hospital medication were basically a product that the 19th century because of overcrowding in cities, both in Europe and also the joined States, i m sorry caused boost in disease:

“In the Middle eras medicine had focused round libraries. Throughout the adhering to three centuries, together in timeless antiquity, it had focused upon the separation, personal, instance sickbed. But in the nineteenth century it centered round hospitals. Hospitals were together a decisive variable in the breakthrough of early on nineteenth-century medication that this particular period might fine be categorized together the duration of hospital medicine, as differentiated from its predecessors, library and also bedside medicine, and its successor, which can aptly be referred to as laboratory medicine. Hospitals had actually existed before, however their number enhanced prodigiously together the Industrial revolution fostered fast urbanization. Refuge had to be discovered for the 10s of hundreds of young peasants, male and female, who were streaming into the farming cities. All too frequently they fell victims to typhoid heat or tuberculosis, an illness which as a an outcome are uncovered to it is in in the center of the clinical understanding of the period. The brand-new arrivals, having actually neither houses nor households to take treatment of them, came to be hospital patients.”

Many medical firsts and discoveries were made in Massachusetts, such together the discovery of ether. This discoveries and also advances readjusted people’s lives and dramatically boosted health treatment in the 19th century.

“Until the 19th century, world with mental disease were cared because that by family members, that quietly attended to their needs in landscape areas. But with the dawn of the commercial Age, and also its accompanying development of crowded cities, many civilization feared human being with mental illness were a risk to windy safety. That perceived threat listed the catalyst for the development of asylums to confine psychiatric patients. Consequently, by the second half of the century, countless states had opened publicly psychiatric asylums. This sanctuaries ultimately ended up being the hospitals because that the poor, since the better-off patients could take refuge in the personal philanthropic asylums, such as McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, which required patients to salary their very own way.”

This resulted in the facility of a number of state hospitals and mental health institutions in Massachusetts, including the first mental wellness institution, Mclean Hospital, which was developed in Boston in 1811, as well as one of the most notorious state hospitals, the Danvers State Hospital, in 1875.

Massachusetts Transportation:

The industrial transformation also sparked the transportation revolution during which the construction of roads, bridges, railroads and also canals helped world move around an ext freely, raised trade, and also forever transformed the physics landscape that Massachusetts with massive public works projects, such together the Boston Landfill project.

The an initial railroad in America, the Granite Railway (which later came to be the Old Colony and also Newport Railway), was built in Massachusetts in 1826 and many much more were built over the course of the 19th century.

With this raised transportation came a demand for an ext accommodations because that travelers. Many of the now historical hotels in Boston where built during this time period as a result.

This enhanced movement and also trade further helped change the economy of the United states from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy, according to the book The transportation Revolution, 1815-1860:

“From the ‘cutting edge’ frontier, which already reached much into the Ohio river Valley, come the suburbs of that seaboard cities the United states was in 1815 chiefly an agricultural country. Commerce, mainly sea-and-river-borne, to be organized and directed by the seller capitalists residing in a few cities follow me the Atlantic coast. This American economic climate of the nineteenth century might ideal be explained as extractive-commercial in character. That is true the the beginnings of industrial development were currently discernible. However in this soil of continent expanses only revolutionary developments in the methods of transportation and communication would certainly make possible that nearly explosive rush of industrial expansion which defined the later decades of the century.”

In the second phase the the commercial revolution, the Boston Subway, which to be the very first subway in America, was built using the same technology.

Massachusetts Inventions:

Many notable inventions took place in Massachusetts, particularly during the commercial Revolution.

The machines, tools, equipment and greater scientific understanding in the 19th century permitted for more experiments which led to brand-new discoveries and inventions.

Some together Massachusetts developments were the telephone, vulcanized rubber and also the game of basketball.

To learn more about the industrial revolution, check out this write-up on the finest Books around the commercial Revolution.

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