Tuesday, October 7, 2014
While it's perhaps only small comfort, history suggests that Americans themselves are some of the best in the world at corporate espionage and theft, and have been since the American Revolution. (Wouldn't it be interesting to net out the purloined IP we gather in each year, just to see what our "balance of theft" looks like?) Among the very first beneficiaries of stolen technology, and still one of the most important in American history, was the Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Slater Mill is a kind of "ground zero" for the American edition of the Industrial Revolution, the first place where English factory technology--the latest system for mechanized textile production--was firmly planted in the New World. Financed by William Almy and his father-in-law, Moses Brown--and just up the road a piece from the Brown family's namesake university--Slater Mill was the first successful cotton factory in the United States.
|This is the Blackstone River, which has several names as it flows from Worcester to Providence. The yellow structure to the left is Slater Mill with the Pawtucket Falls in the foreground. The Art Deco building (dating from 1933) in the center of the picture is the Pawtucket City Hall. I managed a 90-minute visit to the Mill site a couple of weekends ago.|