The Textile Factory

Francis Lowell

Francis Lowell was born April 7, 1775, Newburyport, Massachusetts born in a prominent Massachusetts family, Lowell closely studied the British textile industry while visiting Britain. With Paul Moody he devised an efficient power loom and spinning apparatus. His Boston Manufacturing Co. in Waltham (1812 – 1814) was apparently the world's first mill in which were performed all operations converting raw cotton into finished cloth. His example greatly stimulated the growth of New England industry. Lowell, Massachusetts is named for him. Francis Lowell's was a member of a prominent family from Boston, which included a statesman, an astronomer, two poets, and a president of Harvard University.  Lowell attended Harvard, graduating in class of 1793. 

After becoming a successful merchant in the United States, Lowell traveled to Great Britain, where he spent two years studying the inner workings of the textile industry and the power looms being used in those factories.  Lowell brought his knowledge back to the US, and with his brother and business associates, formed the Boston Manufacturing Company, which improved upon the power loom technology that was used in their textile mill in Waltham, Massachusetts. The waterways in Lowell proved to be perfect to power Boston Manufacturing Company’s power looms, and a new textile mill was opened by the company in Lowell, Massachusetts. Francis Lowell wanted to sell His Textile Factory at a 1,000 dollars.

Lowell was employing women in his mills and they were offered educational and religious freedoms that weren’t offered anywhere else at the time. These pioneering women became known as Lowell Mill Girls, and they were the backbone of Lowell’s thriving cotton industry during the American Industrial Revolution.

Francis Cabot Lowell died at the age of 42 the date was August 10, 1817, leaving the Boston Manufacturing Company in excellent financial health.  In tribute to Lowell, his business partners changed the name of their mill town to Lowell in 1822.