Lowell System

Topics: Industrial Revolution, Employment, Textile Pages: 2 (649 words) Published: June 1, 2014
The Lowell system was a labor and production model employed in the United States, particularly in New England, during the early years of the American textile industry in the early 19th Century. Francis Cabot Lowell transformed the early stages of industrialization in the United States, with his vision of an entire community involved in textile production. After returning from a trip to England to observe the cotton mills, Lowell was inspired to create a system of textile mills. The shameful working conditions of the English textile mills motivated Lowell to develop a "paternalistic" working environment of caring for the workers. This setting would attempt to care for the workers while governing their moral reputations. The Lowell system also consolidated production, with all spinning and weaving taking place in a central location. The social and technological innovation of Lowell became known as the "Golden Experiment." Women between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five were recruited to work at the mills. The majority of the women came from farming households. The protective setting, promised by the mill agents, eased the parents’ fears of letting their daughters leave the farms. The Lowell Mills management offered cash wages, company run boarding houses and cultural events for the women. The women agreed to a strict set of rules including church attendance and curfews. In the 1800’s, job options were limited for women and the Lowell Mills offered them the opportunity to earn money rather than having their families save money for them. The first boardinghouses were constructed of wood. In the mid 1830’s, brick structures were built within walking distance of the mills. The boardinghouse-keeper, usually a widow, was responsible for the moral and physical wellbeing of her girls. Unmarried women were required by the mills to live under the boardinghouse system. The girls were charged $1.25 a week to live there. The money was taken directly out of their paycheck....
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