Inductees in Industry - Textiles

  1. Zachariah Allen

    Zachariah Allen (1795-1882)

    Inducted in 1973

    Zacharian Allen, 1795-1882, was a lawyer, inventor, and civic leader of the nineteenth century. One of his most notable inventions was the home hot-air furnace. He also originated the Providence Water Works and is credited with introducing the first vehicles to the Providence Fire Company. Allen was also instrumental in setting up the mutal fire insurance system in early America . Read more >

  2. Moses Brown

    Moses Brown (1738-1836)

    Inducted in 1999

    Moses Brown, 1738-1836, the youngest of the five Brown brothers was a Providence civic leader, entrepreneur, sponsor of Samuel Slater, and prominent Quaker abolitionist. Moses Brown was also a founder of the Providence Athaneum and Moses Brown School. Read more >

  3. Charles Fletcher

    Charles Fletcher (1839-1907)

    Inducted in 2006


    Fletcher, Charles, 1839-1907

    Charles Fletcher, like Samuel Slater before him, amassed years of experience in the English textile industry as an operative before immigrating to Rhode Island in the late 1860s.  Once here, he soon built a regional empire for the production of woolen cloth and helped consolidate his holdings into an even larger national trust--the American Woolen Company.

    Fletcher took a position at the Valley Worsted Mills in Olneyville upon his arrival in the state and quickly rose to the position of superintendent.  He started his own worsted enterprise in the same vicinity in 1875. Read more >

  4. Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard

    Colonel Robert Hale Ives Goddard (1837-1916)

    Inducted in 2009

    Goddard, Robert H. I. (Robert Hale Ives), 1837-1916

    Colonel Robert Goddard (1837-1916) was a son of Professor William G. Goddard, newspaperman and first Chancellor of Brown University, and Charlotte Rhoda Ives Goddard. Read more >

  5. Major John T. Godfrey

    Major John T. Godfrey (1922-1958)

    Inducted in 1993

    >b>Major John T. Godfrey, USAF, a Candian native raised in Woonsocket, was a highly decorated and widely recognized World War II flying ace credited with shooting down or destroying on the ground, 36 German planes. He later became prominent in public affairs as a State Senator. He also operated a successful Lace manufacturing business in Rhode Island. Read more >

  6. Edward Harris

    Edward Harris (1801-1872)

    Inducted in 1986

    Edward Harris, 1801-1872, was considered the City of Woonsocket's most prominent citizen in the 19th century. His contributions are found in the economic, political, and social fiber of his native city, as Woonsocket's first millionaire, and in helping to establish the area as the state's leading textile center. A leading philanthropist, he donated numerous buildings and land areas to Woonsocket, ran three times as the "Free Soil" candidate for governor, founded two banks and much of the credit for the development of the city of Woonsocket goes to him. Read more >

  7. Rowland Gibson Hazard (1801-1888)

    Inducted in 2003


    Hazard, Rowland Gibson, 1801-1888

    Rowland Gibson Hazard was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island on October 9, 1801, the fourth of nine children of Rowland Hazard and Mary Peace of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1819, with his brother Isaac, he assumed control of his father's small woolen mill in the village of Peace Dale, which had been named for his mother's family. He had primary responsibility for marketing products to Southern plantation owners in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Hazard wintered in New Orleans from about 1833 to 1842. Read more >

  8. Benjamin B. and Robert L. Knight

    Benjamin B. and Robert L. Knight

    Inducted in 2006


    Knight, Benjamin B., 1813-1898 and Knight, Robert, 1825-1912

    The Knight brothers were textile manufacturers and philanthropists, owning twenty-one manufacturing villages under the logo “Fruit of the Loom,” and employing nearly 7000 operatives.

    Benjamin was born in Cranston, R.I. Read more >

  9. Mr. & Mrs. Austin T. Levy (1880-1971)

    Inducted in 1969

    Austin Levy was a successful textile manufacturer, and his gracious wife, June (Rockwell) Levy, was known as the "First Lady of Burrillville" Their philanthropic interest played a major role in the development of their town. Through their gifts the town gained its' Town Hall, the Harrisville Assembly Theater Building, a library, a post office, the Harrisville Courthouse, two school buildings, and an indoor hockey rink. Read more >

  10. Sam Patch

    Sam Patch (1799-1829)

    Inducted in 2012

    Patch, Sam, 1807-1829

    Sam Patch was born in North Reading, Massachusetts, one of six children produced by the stormy union of Samuel Greenleaf Patch and Abigail McIntire Patch.

    Following several family moves to northeastern Massachusetts towns, the Patches arrived in the mill village of Pawtucket at the falls of the Blackstone in 1807. Shortly after their arrival Sam began work in Slater's “White Mill,” where he rose to the coveted position of mule spinner--one of the first American-born workers to achieve this status. Sam's fame, however, would be made not in the mill but at the falls outside it: he eventually leapt feet-first from the six-story “Stone Mill” into a deep hole called “the pot,”a descent of 100 feet. Read more >

  11. George R. Ramsbottom (1888-1979)

    Inducted in 1976

    George Ramsbottom, 1888-1979, was a Pawtucket industrialist who was President-Treasurer of the Seekonk Lace Company. An angel to the Pawtucket Boys Club, he gave them Camp Ramsbottom for summer recreation. He was also active in Red Cross and Community Chest drives. Ramsbottom is also credited with helping to write the Pawtucket City Charter. Read more >

  12. William F. Sayles

    William F. Sayles (1824-1894)

    Inducted in 1966

    William Francis Sayles, 1824-1894, was a prominent Pawtucket, Rhode Island industrialist who founded the W.F. & F.C. Read more >

  13. Samuel Slater

    Samuel Slater (1768-1835)

    Inducted in 1965

    Samuel Slater, 1768-1835, an English-born textile operative and inventor, has been called the "Father of American Manufacturing". He migrated to Rhode Island from Derbyshire in 1789, and, in concert with Rhode Island investors and craftsman, built and activated spinning frames at Pawtucket Falls that were modeled on those of English inventor Richard Arkwright. On December 20, 1790, he spun cotton yarn from water powered machinery for the first time in America. Read more >

  14. Governor William Sprague

    Governor William Sprague (1830-1915)

    Inducted in 1967

    Governor William Sprague, 1830-1915, was a member of the Sprague family of industrial and political prominence. William became the "Boy Governor" of Rhode Island at age 30 on a Unionist-Republican-Fusion ticket and shortly thereafter led the first Rhode Island Regiment into combat at the First Battle of Bull Run. He became a U.S. Read more >

  15. Simon Willard Wardwell (1849-1924)

    Inducted in 2008

    Simon Wardwell, 1849-1921, was a 19th-century visionary industrialist, patenting numerous machines for improving the manufacture of textiles and clothing items.

    The manufacture of textile machines in the Blackstone Valley was a crowded field, not for the faint of heart; it was like making cars in Detroit or steel in Pittsburgh. However, for Simon Willard Wardwell, it was a place not only to build products for other producers but also a place to build a reputation.

    During a lifetime of bright ideas Wardwell amassed one-hundred-and-seventy patents. Read more >

  16. David Wilkinson

    David Wilkinson (1771-1852)

    Inducted in 2000

    David Wilkinson (1771-1852) a Pawtucket native, was a successful Industrial Revolution-era inventor and mill owner. When an historical movement is particularly successful, it is logical that there would be many claims of authorship. This is certainly true of the Industrial Revolution and the beginnings of the American factory system. At the center of the Industrial Revolution's story is, of course, Samuel Slater; but it does not detract from Slater's reputation to add more personalities to the story. Read more >



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