Series: Lowell, Story of an Industrial City

Lowell, Story of an Industrial City: Products of the Mills

Example of printed calico fabric from 1878. Public domain
An example of printed calico textile from 1878.

Walter Crum & Co. Public Domain (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calico_sample_Crum_%26_Co..jpg)

Cotton cloth was always Lowell's major product. But from its earliest years, the mills turned out a variety of textile goods. The Middlesex Company, for instance, manufactured woolen cloth. The Lowell Manufacturing Company was a leading producer of carpets. During the Civil War years, the Lawrence Manufacturing Company moved into the production of hosiery.

Lowell's cotton textiles ranged from pattern weaves to printed cloths. The Merrimack Company specialized in calico prints and pioneered in the development of cloth printing technology. Skilled printers were recruited from England in the early years. The head printer hired by the company in 1825 commanded a salary higher than the treasurer's. Other companies specialized in coarse drillings, sheetings, twilled goods, and shirtings, minimizing competition among Lowell textile firms.

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From: Dublin, Thomas. 1992. Lowell: the story of an industrial city: a guide to Lowell National Historical Park and Lowell Heritage State Park, Lowell, Massachusetts. Washington, D.C.: Division of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.