When textile mills were no match for cottage industry

“Rather than depending on large, merchant-capitalized manufactories,  a flexible system [used during the Revolutionary War] relied primarily on independent farm families for production. Women and children could manufacture clothing and other products at home when time permitted, and either merchants or the state government would purchase the finished goods to be distributed where needed. These farm families succeeded so well that large manufactories seemed less appealing to potential investors.

“When Joseph Hewes of [Edenton] North Carolina considered investing in a linen manufactory, he was dissuaded by a Philadelphia factory manager who informed him that ‘small manufactories set up by private persons in their own families would be much more profitable both to the adventurers and to the community in general than large ones established by the public or by companies.’ ”

— From Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry” by Lawrence A. Peskin (2010)

It would be 1814 before Michael Schenck built North Carolina’s first textile mill,  on a fork of the Catawba River near Lincolnton. It manufactured cotton yarn, not linen.  textile mill in North Carolina was in operation around 1815 by Michael

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