History Of Paterson, New Jersey

Paterson – New Jersey, is located in Passaic County along the Passaic River. The native people of the land were the Lenni Lenape Indians.  They resided in a large area of land that spread from the Delaware River to the Connecticut border. The early settlers were Dutch who came to the area in 1620. The city was not established until 1791. It was named after William Paterson, a New Jersey statesman, jurist, and signer of the Constitution. 

Paterson city was founded in 1791 by Alexnder Hamilton and the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures (SUM). The SUM built a dam, canal, power looms, and houses. The whole point of the city was to build mills. It was also one of the first planned cities in America. Paterson’s location along the Passaic River made water power readily accessible.  Soon it became a very industrialized town. Its economy relied heavily on textiles, silk, and locomotive construction.

Early industry in Paterson

The early industry in Paterson was all based on textiles. The first mills that were set up in the city turned flax into linen and cotton into cloth. Those mills were mostly powered by the water that ran through the Passaic River. 

In 1812, Paterson was better known as a cotton mill town than as a silk manufacturing center. It became known for its fine cotton fabric. It became the largest textile city in the state at this time. 

Firearm and locomotive manufacturing

The city entered its new phase with the production of revolvers by Samuel Colt at the Old Gun Mill in 1836.  In 1837,  the first locomotive was manufactured by the “THE ROGERS LOCOMOTIVE WORKS ” in Paterson.  This company produced over 10,000 locomotive engines and became the second-largest locomotive company in the USA. The industrial boom did not slow down, and the city became an even more industrialized city. 

Silk Production

Towards the end of the 19th century, silk production in Paterson surpassed cotton fabrics. John Ryle was the 1st person to produce the nation’s first skein of silk at Paterson. In 1870, the Jacquard loom boosted the silk industry due to its ability to weave intricate designs in fabrics. The city became famous for its fine silk and was nicknamed “silk city”. By 1880, half of the silk consumed in the USA was produced by Paterson.  According to records, there were 121 firms or silk production mills that were working day and night to meet the demand for silk in the USA. 

The industry of Paterson nowadays

Today, Paterson is more than just a city; it’s an incubator for business. It has changed a lot and has evolved according to the world’s needs. The diverse economy of Paterson includes major pharmaceuticals, life sciences, information technology, logistics, manufacturing, and financial services.  There are many major brands and companies that have factories and offices in the city, such as: 

  • Crown Roll Leaf. 
  • Liberty Elevator. 
  • Wilkstone. 
  • Douglas Stephens Plastics.
  • Glenro. 
  • M Tucker Co. 
  • Accurate Box.

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