Chet Smolski, Rhode Island College


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Fall 10-1978


The Old Slater Mill was dedicated exclusively to the production of cotton thread until 1829 and then continuously occupied until 1921 with various owners and renters who altered its physical structure to suit whatever enterprise they brought with them. Beginning with modest dimensions of 43" x 29", the mill was periodically enlarged, reaching its maximum of 140" x 51" in 1920. Through the years, production included jewelers' tools, coffin trimmings, cardboard and bicycles. The demise of the last private owner spurred a small group of local businessmen to organize the Old Slater Mill Association to purchase, restore and preserve the "Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution" the Old Slater Mill. Between 1925 and 1930, the Association's efforts secured support from 62 individuals and gave them the honor of becoming "founders" of one of the first industrial museums in the United States. Industrial giants such as Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler and Harvey Firestone were not only early supporters of this early industrial museum, but went on to preserve their own industrial collections.



This object from the Chester E. Smolski photographic slides and publications, housed by the Rhode Island College Special Collections, and any of its digital surrogates are the intellectual property of Rhode Island College. This digital object is protected by copyright and/or related rights. The digital material presented here is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This content can be used, shared, or adapted for educational and scholarly purposes. For permissions to use this item please contact All uses must include appropriate attribution.

Creator 1 Role


Recommended Citation

Chester E. Smolski photographic slides and publications, MSS-0041, Special Collections, James P. Adams Library, Rhode Island College.


Slater Mill; Pawtucket, RI; mills; museums; historic buildings; textiles;