Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John and Arthur Scholfield

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1793 John Scholfield with his family, and Arthur, sons of Arthur Scholfield, who lived at Standish-foot, in Saddleworth, Yorkshire, sailed from Liverpool for the USA on 24th of March, arriving in Boston in May, and took up residence in Charlestown. There they remained until August, making preparations and constructing some machinery for the manufacture of woollen cloth. They were introduced to some wealthy residents of Newburyport, who put up a factory at Byfield, under the immediate supervision of John and Arthur Scholfield, where they constructed the first carding machine that was put in operation in the USA. This was constructed and first operated by hand before the factory was ready to receive it. When all of the machinery was constructed according to their direction, the factory went into operation, and John Scholfield was employed as an agent, and the business was conducted prosperously. This was the first such factory erected and conducted advantageously in the United States, all previous attempts having been rendered unprofitable by reason of imperfect machinery.

In 1798, John Scholfield hired water-power at Montville, Conn., and built a factory, where he continued until 1806. Arthur Scholfield remained with his brother at Montville about three years, when he removed to Pittsfield (1801), and built a carding machine, and went to carding rolls and manufacturing. In 1804 he made the first broadcloth fabricated in the USA. In 1806 he was advertising "Double carding machines, made and sold by A. Scholfield, for $253 each, without the cards, or $400, including the cards. Picking machines at $30 each." Arthur Scholfield appears therefore to have been the first manufacturer in the USA of wool machinery as a distinct business.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • 'AMERICAN TEXTILE MACHINERY: Its Early History, Characteristics, Contributions to the History of the World, Relations to other Industries, and Claims for National Recognition', by John L. Hayes, Cambridge University Press, 1879.