Samuel Slater is know to American school children as the “Father of American Industry.” To British school children, he is known as “Slater the Traitor.”
As school children we were taught that the first American factory was begun after George Washington became President. This was not because Americans were not creative. No, it was because the English banned the export of intellectual property for the sound reason that England wanted to trade its manufactured goods for America’s raw materials.
As school children would learn, in 1790, Samuel Slater, who at the age of 10, began as a cotton spinner’s apprentice, later at 21, left England and brought to America the closely held secrets of textile machinery. He chose Pawtucket, Rhode Island and built from memory a factory to produce spindles of wool and cotton yarn. Slater would spin yarn into gold and eventually he owned thirteen mills, around which he developed tenant farms and company towns, such as Slatersville; and he had the dubious distinction of employing young children to work in the factories.
New Englanders were frugal, living by the motto, “waste not want not.” Paid pennies for their work, the children who worked Slater’s mills stuffed their pockets full of the short discarded wool fibers called “thrums” and took it home to mother. On long and cold winter evenings, she would take up an empty flour or sugar sack and begin to hook the wool fibers into the burlap. Rugs and pillows and blankets began to decorate New England homes. What began as a craft for poverty developed into an industry.
Chandler 4 Corners recreates the craft of hand hooked wool throw pillows and rugs. The designs are inspired by Vermont artist Laura Megroz and others, but because of the advances in industrialization, the pillows and rugs are made overseas.
The throw pillows are a bit of fun, a colorful decoration for a chair, a sofa, or a bed. Laura Megroz’s designs are whimsical and nostalgic. YOu can shop in one of our two stores in Overland Park and in Wichita, or shop online for Chandler 4 Corners throw pillows.