Edmund Cartwright (1743-1823) In the early 1800s, the Industrial Revolution begins what will become the textile industry. Cotton production is rising fast because the combination of cotton gins and cotton mills has fundamentally changed the cotton marketplace. A process that used to take dozens of human hours to turn a pound of cotton into a pound of thread has been largely mechanized. But the thread still needs to be woven into cloth, and that is being done by people sitting at manual looms. Things do get better in 1733 with the invention of the flying shuttle loom. But what the world needs is a completely mechanized loom to cut down on the human labor involved in making cloth. The power loom, developed by Edmund Cartwright in 1784, was the invention that mechanized the production of cloth. When this important piece fell into place, the availability of cloth rose and the cost fell because factories could churn out much larger quantities. Engineer/inventors brought the power loom into existence, and then they rapidly improved the speed, reliability, and manufacturability of these machines. Because of a campaign of secrecy in Britain, the invention of the power loom there did not make it to the United States until around 1814, when a man named Francis Lowell watched and memorized the operation of a power loom in the UK and then brought what he learned back to the US. This breakthrough allowed two things to happen: The first weaving factories sprang up, and engineers could see a working model of a power loom and start rapidly improving it. How big of an effect did this industrialization have? One source notes that, right before the start of the Civil War, the state of Georgia - just one state — was producing something like 26 million yards of cloth per year from 33 factories. The North was producing far more because the textile industry started and was centered there. Between the time of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, engineers and industrialists had brought textiles from a cottage product made completely by hand to a factory-made commodity manufactured completely by machines.