its colonies and even sovereign nations as enslaved peoples, looting their raw materials and maintaining them in technological backwardness as"captive markets" for British goods. Great Britain even passed laws makingit a crime for British residents or travelers to export or explain British plansand technology to citizens of any other country.Consequently America's industrialization was a bootstrap operation, whichdemanded of our founding scientists, engineers and inventors that they notonly achieve the technical standard set by Europe, but surpass it, if they wereto survive the continued repressive tactics of the British. This attitude has become known as "Yankee ingenuity," but few now realize what this meant.
The Power Loom
The water power loom for the manufacture of textiles was first introducedinto this country by Francis Cabot Lowell and his financial backers, Patrick T. Jackson and Nathan Appleton. In 1858 Appleton wrote an account of
The History of the Power Loom and the Origin of Lowell, Mass
. He describesthe circumstances as follows."The power loom was at this time (1811) just being introduced in England but its construction was kept very secret, and after many failures, publicopinion was not favorable to its success." He describes how he and Jacksonapproached Lowell while he was in England on vacation about looking intothe Manchester mills. Like many inventive Americans of the early nine-teenth century, Lowell proved himself to be a mechanical genius. He had tomemorize the plans for the power loom in order to avoid imprisonment bythe British.When he returned to the United States, Lowell immediately began toimprove its design. The end result was a radically different machine thatworked. The necessary capital of $400,000 to perfect and produce the loomwas raised between Lowell, Patrick T. Jackson and Appleton."I well recollect the state of admiration and satisfaction with which we sat by the hour watching the beautiful movement of this new and wonderfulmachine, destined as it evidently was to change the character of all thetextile industry," Appleton later recalled.It was not the power loom by itself which changed the character of thetextile industry, but a grand design for the maximum benefit of its inventionto the country's economy and the quality of life of its citizens. Lowell and