Samuel Slater's Spinning Frame

The Smithsonian's first label for Slater's Spinning Frame was written by textiles curator Frederick L. Lewton in 1912 for an exhibition in the United States National Museum in Washington, D.C.:
"This 48-spindle spinning machine, the oldest piece of cotton machinery in America, was built by Samuel Slater, and first operated by him on December 20, 1790, at Pawtucket, Rhode Island. One hundred years later, 1890, it was lent to the city of Pawtucket for exhibition at the Cotton Centenary, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of cotton spinning by power machinery on the Western Hemisphere, and yarn was spun on it by an old man who had tended the spinning frame in the 'Old Slater Mill' when he was a boy. In 1876, it was exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, and in 1885, was lent by the National Museum for exhibition at the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans. Presented by the Rhode Island Society For The Encouragement of Domestic Industry."
Currently not on view
Date made
Slater, Samuel
Place Made
United States: Rhode Island, Pawtucket
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 61 in x 104 in x 36 in; 154.94 cm x 264.16 cm x 91.44 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Industry & Manufacturing
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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