Thomas Somers

Last updated

Thomas Somers was one of the original investors and architects for the Beverly Cotton Manufactory in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Beverly Cotton Manufactory

Beverly Cotton Manufactory was the first cotton mill built in America, and the largest cotton mill to be built during its era. It was built hoping for economic success, but reached a downturn due to technical limitations of the then early production process and limitations of the machines being used. Being the birthplace and testing grounds of the cotton milling industry at the time, it has been called the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

Beverly, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Beverly is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, and a suburb of Boston. The population was 39,502 at the 2010 census. A resort, residential, and manufacturing community on the Massachusetts North Shore, Beverly includes Ryal Side, Beverly Farms and Prides Crossing. Beverly is a rival of Marblehead for the title of being the birthplace of the U.S. Navy.

Thomas Somers had traveled, under his own expense, to England the fall of 1785 on behalf of the Tradesmen and Manufacturers of Baltimore, Maryland, in an attempt to procure the machines used for carding and spinning cotton. After some difficulty, he was able to leave England with descriptions and models of the machines used. He returned to Baltimore in the summer of 1786.

Baltimore Largest city in Maryland

Baltimore is an independent city in the state of Maryland within the United States. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1729. With a population of 611,648 in 2017, Baltimore is the largest such independent city in the United States. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.808 million, making it the 20th largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2017 population of 9,764,315.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

Carding process that disentangles, cleans and intermixes fibres

Carding is a mechanical process that disentangles, cleans and intermixes fibres to produce a continuous web or sliver suitable for subsequent processing. This is achieved by passing the fibers between differentially moving surfaces covered with card clothing. It breaks up locks and unorganised clumps of fibre and then aligns the individual fibers to be parallel with each other. In preparing wool fibre for spinning, carding is the step that comes after teasing.

Shortly after Somers returned, he found out that the boat that was carrying much of his personal property during his stay in England had crashed at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is reported that he lost one-half of the property he brought with him.

Cape Cod Cape in the northeastern United States

Cape Cod is a geographic cape extending into the Atlantic Ocean from the southeastern corner of mainland Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. Its historic, maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy tourism during the summer months.

Somers created a petition to the Legislature of Massachusetts requesting financial assistance in order to afford the equipment needed to begin manufacturing of his designs of a cotton mill. March 8, 1787, the Legislation granted Somers twenty pounds from the Public Treasury which was used to assist both Somers and the startup costs of the Beverly Cotton Manufactory.

Cotton mill factory housing powered spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton

A cotton mill is a building housing spinning or weaving machinery for the production of yarn or cloth from cotton, an important product during the Industrial Revolution in the development of the factory system.

There is some indication that Somers' contribution to the Beverly Cotton Manufactory was higher in price than what would have been reasonably expected, and that his grasp of the necessities of the Manufactory construction were overestimated. [1]

Related Research Articles

Industrial Revolution Mid-20th-to-early-21th-century period; First Industrial Revolution evolved into the Second Industrial Revolution in the transition years between 1840 and 1870

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the US, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

Salem witch trials series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts

The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people were accused, 19 of whom were found guilty and executed by hanging. One other man, Giles Corey, was crushed to death for refusing to plead, and at least five people died in jail. It was the deadliest witch hunt in the history of the United States.

Spinning jenny multi-spool spinning frame

The spinning jenny is a multi-spindle spinning frame, and was one of the key developments in the industrialization of weaving during the early Industrial Revolution. It was invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves in Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire in England. The device reduced the amount of work needed to produce cloth, with a worker able to work eight or more spools at once. This grew to 120 as technology advanced. The yarn produced by the jenny was not very strong until Richard Arkwright invented the water-powered 'water frame', which produced yarn harder and stronger than that of the initial spinning jenny. It started the factory system.

Samuel Slater English-American industrialist

Samuel Slater was an early English-American industrialist known as the "Father of the American Industrial Revolution" and the "Father of the American Factory System". In the UK, he was called "Slater the Traitor" because he brought British textile technology to America, modifying it for United States use. He memorized the designs of textile factory machinery as an apprentice to a pioneer in the British industry before migrating to the United States at the age of 21. He designed the first textile mills in the US and later went into business for himself, developing a family business with his sons. A wealthy man, he eventually owned thirteen spinning mills and had developed tenant farms and company towns around his textile mills, such as Slatersville, Rhode Island.

John Cotton (minister) 17th-century Puritan minister in England and America

John Cotton was a clergyman in England and the American colonies and considered the preeminent minister and theologian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He studied for five years at Trinity College, Cambridge and another nine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He had already built a reputation as a scholar and outstanding preacher when he accepted the position of minister at St. Botolph's Church, Boston in Lincolnshire in 1612. As a Puritan, he wanted to do away with the ceremony and vestments associated with the established Church of England and preach in a simpler manner. He felt that the English church needed significant reforms, but he was adamant about not separating from it; his preference was to change it from within.

Albert Augustus Pope American businessman

Albert Augustus Pope was a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel in the Union Army. He was an importer, promoter, and manufacturer of bicycles, and a manufacturer of automobiles.

Simon Bradstreet Last governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, husband of poet Anne Bradstreet

Simon Bradstreet was a colonial magistrate, businessman, diplomat, and the last governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Arriving in Massachusetts on the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, Bradstreet was almost constantly involved in the politics of the colony but became its governor only in 1679. He served on diplomatic missions and as agent to the crown in London, and also served as a commissioner to the New England Confederation. He was politically comparatively moderate, arguing minority positions in favor of freedom of speech and for accommodation of the demands of King Charles II following his restoration to the throne.

Thomas Talbot (Massachusetts) American politician and textile businessman

Thomas Talbot was an American textile mill owner and politician from Massachusetts, United States. Talbot ran a major textile business, involving chemical dyeworks and the weaving of fabric, in Billerica that was a major local employer. As a Republican, he served in the state legislature, on the Massachusetts Governor's Council, and as Lieutenant Governor before serving for one partial term as Acting Governor of Massachusetts, and later for one full term as the 31st Governor.

Textile manufacture during the British Industrial Revolution early textile production via automated means

Textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution in Britain was centred in south Lancashire and the towns on both sides of the Pennines. In Germany it was concentrated in the Wupper Valley, Ruhr Region and Upper Silesia, in Spain it was concentrated in Catalonia while in the United States it was in New England. The four key drivers of the Industrial Revolution were textile manufacturing, iron founding, steam power and cheap labour.

John Cabot House

The John Cabot House is a historic house at 117 Cabot Street in downtown Beverly, Massachusetts. Built in 1781 by a prominent local businessman and ship owner, it was the town's first brick mansion house. It is now owned by Historic Beverly and open to the public five days a week. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

John Wheelwright Colonial American clergyman

John Wheelwright (c.1592–1679), was a Puritan clergyman in England and America, noted for being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Antinomian Controversy, and for subsequently establishing the town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Born in Lincolnshire, England, he graduated from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Ordained in 1619, he became the vicar of Bilsby, Lincolnshire, until removed for simony.

The history of New England pertains to the New England region of North America in the United States. New England is the oldest clearly defined region of the United States, and it predates the American Revolution by more than 150 years. The English Pilgrims were Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England who established Plymouth Colony in 1620, the first colony in New England and second in America. A large influx of Puritans populated the greater region during the Puritan migration to New England (1620–1640), largely in the Boston and Salem area. Farming, fishing, and lumbering prospered, as did whaling and sea trading.

Boston Manufacturing Company A cotton manufacturing company organized in 1813 by Francis Cabot Lowell and The Boston Associates

The Boston Manufacturing Company was a business that operated the first factory in America. It was organized in 1813 by Francis Cabot Lowell, a wealthy Boston merchant, in partnership a group of investors known as The Boston Associates, for the manufacture of cotton textiles. It built the first integrated spinning and weaving factory in the world at Waltham, Massachusetts, using water power. They used plans for a power loom that he smuggled out of England as well as trade secrets from the earlier horse-powered Beverly Cotton Manufactory, of Beverly, Massachusetts, of 1788. This was the largest factory in the U.S., with a workforce of about 300. It was a very efficient, highly profitable mill that, with the aid of the Tariff of 1816, competed effectively with British textiles at a time when many smaller operations were being forced out of business. While the Rhode Island System that followed was famously employed by Samuel Slater, the Boston Associates improved upon it with the "Waltham System". The idea was successfully copied at Lowell, Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England. Many rural towns now had their own textile mills.

Westhoughton Mill

Westhoughton Mill or Rowe and Dunscough's Mill, in Mill Street in Westhoughton, near Bolton in the historic county of Lancashire, was the site of a Luddite arson attack in 1812. The mill was built in 1804 by Richard Johnson Lockett, a Macclesfield man who lived at Westhoughton Hall. He leased the mill to Thomas Rowe of Manchester in 1808.

Thomas Highs British textile engineer

Thomas Highs (1718–1803), of Leigh, Lancashire, was a reed-maker and manufacturer of cotton carding and spinning engines in the 1780s, during the Industrial Revolution. He is known for claiming patents on a spinning jenny, a carding machine and the throstle.

Hoosick Falls Historic District historic district in the United States

The Hoosick Falls Historic District is located in the downtown section of the village of that name in New York, United States. It is an eight-acre (3.2-ha) area concentrated along Church, Classic and John streets south of the Hoosick River.

Fall River Manufactory first cotton mill to be constructed across the Quequechan River in Fall River, Massachusetts (then known as Troy), United States

The Fall River Manufactory was the first cotton mill to be constructed across the Quequechan River in Fall River, Massachusetts, United States. It was also the first successful textile mill in the area.

Antinomian Controversy

The Antinomian Controversy, also known as the Free Grace Controversy, was a religious and political conflict in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. It pitted most of the colony's ministers and magistrates against some adherents of the Free Grace theology of Puritan minister John Cotton. The most notable Free Grace advocates, often called "Antinomians", were the charismatic Anne Hutchinson, her brother-in-law Reverend John Wheelwright, and the young governor of the colony Henry Vane. The controversy was a theological debate concerning the "covenant of grace" and "covenant of works".


  1. Bagnall, William R. The Textile Industries of the United States: Including Sketches and Notices of Cotton, Woolen, Silk, and Linen Manufacturers in the Colonial Period. Vol. I. The Riverside Press, 1893.