In 1789, soon after the end of the American Revolutionary War, a young Englishman by the name of Samuel Slater came to the United States to seek fame and fortune. Slater, who had served a seven-year apprenticeship in England's textile mills, became associated with Moses Brown, a wealthy New England merchant. With Brown's financial support, Slater developed America’s first mechanized cotton factory in 1790. Located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the tiny operation spun cotton yarn from water-powered machines. The firm soon became known as S. Slater and Sons, Inc., and prospered throughout the 1800s. Additional mills were built and the cornerstone for the new Slater Plant located in Greenville, South Carolina was laid on October 15, 1927. Due to his accomplishments, Samuel Slater is recognized not only as the founder of American textile manufacturing, but also the father of the American Industrial Revolution.
During the late 1930's the plant converted from cotton to rayon and acetate. In 1946, the Slater plant became part of J.P. Stevens & Co. Inc., as part of the Synthetics Fabric Division. The plant began weaving fiberglass in 1951 and added synthetic fabrics to its offerings. In 1988, J.P. Stevens home fashions businesses were acquired by WestPoint Pepperell. The remaining Stevens business segments, including fiberglass, were organized into a new company known as JPS Textiles, Inc. Over the next two decades, the plant underwent many improvements through continued capitalization making it one of the most advanced fiberglass weaving operations in the world.
Today, the company is known as JPS Composite Materials Corporation, a JPS Industries Inc., Company.
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