The rubble stone Wilkinson Mill is located at Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark. It was the first mill in Rhode Island that had a backup steam power source - a steam engine built by David Wilkinson.
The Wilkinson Mill and Machine Shop was built by Pawtucket blacksmith Oziel Wilkinson in 1810. On the first floor was a machine shop. Here, machines and machine parts were designed and built for Slater Mill and other textile mills in the Blackstone River Valley. A textile mill ran on the upper two floors.
Oziel’s son David Wilkinson made many inventions that transformed American life. The screw cutting lathe was one of David's most important contributions. This machine standardized the cutting of screw threads. Before it, all screws had to be cut by hand. Now identical screws could be mass produced by machine. This advancement really helped people when making machines.
Wilkinson also built power looms. These looms were manufactured earlier than the more famous Draper Looms. He also designed parts of the Middlesex Canal and other canal systems in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
People, Places and Stories
Last updated: July 17, 2021