Lowell, Massachusetts was an early center of the textile industry in America. It was one of the first real industrial centers, with large cotton mills being built along the waterways.
By diverting the river into numerous canals they could power the machinery for the mills. The canals remain to this day, in various states.
One of the former mills houses a museum that shows the power plant that used the water to generate the power to run the machines.
Because of the flammability of the dust, they used wooden gears that didn’t create sparks.
It is when you go into the main production floor exhibit that you get a true feel for the sheer size of the operation.
While we were there they ran 2 of the looms, which was incredibly loud. One could only imagine what these young ladies went through with 200 of them running at the same time, while working their 12-14 hour, 6 day a week job.
The National Park Service runs a replica trolley around town to shuttle visitors between the sites. A visit to Lowell is educational, and worth the visit if you are in Massachusetts.