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Worcester County’s Industrial History Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2020


Worcester County has a long history of industrialization way back in the 2nd AD. Most activities centered on farming, which forms the basis of the county’s economy. However, the county played a significant role during the industrial revolution, which makes it stand out even when it experiences geographic seclusion within and outside the US. The paper addresses the cultural factors that supported industrial prospects such as a high population, cultural diversity, and inclusion of immigrants in industrial development. Cultural deterrents of the period discussed in the text include geographic seclusion, lack of waterpower to run the industries, and land conflicts. The paper further discusses collaborations between people, the church, and the state to deal with different health issues and disputes. Collaborations mostly assist in resolving cultural deterrents to industrial growth in the county. Finally, the discussion highlights prominent innovations of the period that created jobs while making Worcester relevant after years of the establishment by the Roma empires, the British, and the Americans.


The population of Worcester increased steadily with the economic growth of the city in New England. The industrial age formed part of a great transition for the city, enabling it to rival the prominent Boston. Different factors contributed towards the growth of the city, including its proximity to Wroxeter to Gloucester, which offered an excellent trade opportunity for the city and its neighbors. Established by the Romans, Worcester city displayed a significant amount of growth in the 19th century during the industrial age. Farming assisted towards the economic growth of the city that largely accommodates carpenters, blacksmiths, potters, railroad workers, bakers, and other industrialists who did different jobs.

The industries grew steadily from the 2nd century AD to the 19th century in which the iron industry became an activity for the robber barons and the captains of industry. After the collapse of Roman civilization, most European countries had to depend on the industrial revolution, which became widespread in the US (Novinson, 2013). The industrial revolution began in Britain but faced challenges when the Roman industrialists left Britain in 407 AD. With a population of about 182, 000 citizens, Worcester is secondo Boston in the US. The County in the State of Massachusetts takes after an England city named by the Roman Empire in the 2nd century AD. Besides its rich culture, the paper seeks to discuss the major industrial transitions made by the city in the 19th century.


Different cultural conditions provided support or opposition for the Worcester innovation in the 19th century. The unique features of the innovation era included the ability of the blacksmiths and architects to incorporate the Victorian-era mill architecture. Innovative industrialists of the 19th century assisted in face-lifting Worcester in a short period. Incorporation of the traditional Italian culture with the English culture enabled the innovators to establish Shrewsbury Street that hosts many restaurants and social amenities that hold the conventional Italian values and aesthetics.

The intention was to create a city that would be appealing for the people of the US, Italian tourists, and English. Other cities hold the cultural values of other countries, including Kelly Square, for Poland and Union Hill for Israel. Worcester strived to create a sustainable environment for cross-cultural integration that many countries strive to achieve through popular culture and immigration (Gaultney, 2009). In order to build cities of countries, political leaders always win the public goodwill, which represents the ideologies of the Worcester leaders throughout the periods of development.

By 1828, Worcester began displaying an interest in major manufacturing industries, including textiles, railroads, cash crops, clothing, and footwear. Economies grow gradually depending o the implemented leadership style and the economic capability to support the growth. Blackstone River formed a place of convergence for most industr8ialists of the 19th century in the present-day Worcester. Famous industries established during the period included the Worcester and Boston Railroad of 1835 and the Blackstone Canal three years earlier (Stephenson & Asher, 1986). About the same period, the accommodating culture of the people of Worcester enabled immigrants from different parts of the world to support the industries. Most of them came from Sweden, France, Ireland, Britain, and the larger Europe. Four years before opening Boston Railroad, Worcester established Washburn & Moen Company, which employed many immigrants and the locals who had an interest in the industrial revolution. Immigration into Worcester assisted in the improvement of its population from the initial 2,000 to over 180, 000 in a difference of 17 centuries. Arguably, the growing population was capable of reducing the levels of isolation between the county and the rest of the US (Novinson, 2013).

Today, most people are yet to know the placement of Worcester in the US. Few already know that the county exists, and it means that the industrial revolution played a significant role in creating a unique culture out of the displaced county. Contrarily, difficulty in its identification made it difficult for different people to move into the county in order to work together with the people of Worcester in order to develop its economy. The county experienced difficulty in accessing waterpower, and the innovative thinkers managed to generate power using different avenues (Lambert, 2014).

Companies linked to power generation included Washburn & Moen that supplied the energy to different companies. Other notable industries of the 19th century in Worcester included American Steel & Wire, Royal Worcester Corset Factory, Norton Company, Wyman-Gordon Company, and the Morgan Construction company. Worcester began employing women during the industrial revolution even before the 19th amendment of the US constitution, which would later empower women to vote. It encouraged women to go to Worcester to work, and it contributed to economic growth immensely. Women participated in the use and manufacture of machinery besides different wiring facilities that required similar services.


Industries began to pitch a tent in parts of Worcester issues of bureaucracy, and ownership of resources became great concerns for the public. It was important to support civil societies and organizations that sought to fight for the survival of the American Steel and Wire Company, whose origins are in Worcester. The creation of the Worcester Mechanics Association in the early 19th century created an assurance for the expectant populations that they would get stable jobs and decent salaries. They incorporated women who mostly worked for the Royal Worcester Corset Factory. Another intention for the collaboration was to increase income for the industries that dealt in wire and steel while supporting the introduction of new factories that would meet the growing demand for industrial products and services (Flynn, 2002).

In 1850, it was important to address the issue of incorporating women in the industries and fighting for the rights of societal minorities. Civil societies organized abolitionist groups and organizations that opposed women suffrage. Political leaders and clerics such as Rev. Edward Everett Hale and Lucy Stone among several other people came together for the inclusion of different people in the development of the county’s economy in a non-discriminatory manner (Gutman & Bell, 1987). According to critical thinkers of the period such as Emily Dickinson produced monthly periodicals to educate the society about the significance of adoption and appreciation of human value irrespective of the socio-cultural backgrounds. Collaborations were inevitable because eth intention of Worcester was to establish a strong network that would help propel the industrial revolution prospects of the US (Cutter, 1997).

The county had to produce enough weapons in readiness for WWII, and it would place the US at an advantage over their economies. In addition, the country would have sufficient weaponry to defeat the enemy. During the wartime, Worcester had the ability to sell arms at high prices and use the resources to stabilize the economy of a county that had a high population growth in the US (Moynihan, 2007). By the end of the 18th century, the population of Worcester was about 47, 000, and the county had to increase productivity in order to provide for the fast growing population.

Community mobilization characterized by the collaborations of the Ku Klux Kan people led to one of the worst riots the county ever experienced in its history. The riot emerged from inability to agree on farming issues because the overly violent KKK group could not tolerate the husky guards left to protect the vast production farms in Worcester (Cutter, 1997). The healthcare sector and the church merged to provide free medication for the people of Worcester. In 1849, the county experienced a high death rate resultant from cholera, and it was the most opportune time to provide free medicines and cleanliness awareness programs to prevent the deaths further.


Crompton Loom Works survives to date because of its ability to change through the ages of industrialization. Since 1860, the company changes to different phases in order to accommodate different employee while providing for the target communities. Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, the company developers created it to serve the purpose of power generation. When Worcester embraced industrialization, different innovators came up to address diverse needs. Few had the ability to deal with the issue of waterpower well, as George Crompton developed the first power loom in the county. Before George came up with the innovation, William Crompton invented a power loom for fabric weaving.

It looked like the Indian Charka that assisted in the creation of the Indian national clothing introduced by Mahatma Gandhi. The unique fabric generated from the power loom made Crompton Works a renowned textile company of the 19th century, which enjoys similar statuses to date. In essence, innovative minds of the period had an excellent opportunity for growth while they provided people with many employment opportunities. Hundreds of Americans found employment opportunities in Crompton Works. The company never segregated against race, colour, minority statuses, or gender because the intention was to provide an excellent employment environment for the citizens (National Register of Historic Places, 2008).

William and George Crompton provided innovative skills to different people enabling them to have successors to date. The succession policy makes the company relevant even after many years of introduction in the county. Collaborations of the late 19th century including the formation of the Blackstone Canal Historic District of 1995 helped in the establishment of a new phase of the Crompton Works. Candlepin Bowling of New England was an innovation of Worcester’s Justin White in the early 19th century (Cutter, 1997). Other innovators include Loring Coe came up with a machine for folding envelops, which equally employed many Worcester citizens. A major technological breakthrough in 1865 led to the development of the WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) that still produces some of the greatest engineers, scientists, and innovators of the recent time. Robert Goddard, a graduate of WPI founded rocketry while Emma Goldman became an entrepreneur who came up with an ice cream outlet (Erskine, 1981).

The list of innovators is inexhaustible as new ones that affiliate to the WPI continue to emerge in order to phase of the initial group of creative thinkers. Common technological advancements linked to Worcester in the 19th century include the Abbott Laboratories and the Advanced Cell Technology, which experiences issues of biotechnological ethics. Innovators in Worcester delved into different fields in order to fulfill the societal needs while providing employment opportunities for thousands of jobless youths in the county and the US at large (Casper, 2007). Other innovations include the contraceptive pill, which is equally debatable even in other countries across the world. Worcester was not only relevant in the US during the industrial revolution, but it remains important to the country even today.


The Worcester addressed the question of providing equipment for the wartime. As such, it would be impossible to deal with high levels of productivity in a community separated by gender and other socio-cultural disparities. Different cultural conditions including the inclusion of women in the industries and the ability to accommodate immigrants provided requisite labour force for the county’s growing industries. Contrarily, lack of waterpower and land disputes spearheaded by the KKK deterred agricultural growth that contributes immensely towards the growth of the country’s economy. In summary, the innovations of the 19th century make the county standout even though it faces the challenge of geographic isolation in the US and the entire world.


Casper, S. E. (2007). A history of the book in American: Volume 3. Chapel Hill, N.C: University of North Carolina Press.

Cutter, W. R. (1997). New England families, genealogical and memorial: A record of the achievements of her people in the making of commonwealths and the founding of a nation. Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield Co.

Erskine, M. A. (1981). Heart of the Commonwealth: Worcester. Cambridge, England: Windsor Publications, Inc.

Flynn, S. (2002). 3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men who Fought It. New York: Warner Books.

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Gutman, H. G., & Bell, D. H. (1987). The New England working class and the new labor history. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Lambert, T. (2014). Web.

Moynihan, K. J. (2007). A History of Worcester, 1674-1848. London: The History Press.

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Novinson, M. ( 2013). Index: Central Mass: In US For Owning Rental Property. Worcester Business Journal, 18(7), 14-19.

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