Rhode Island's Textile History


Rhode Island became a pioneer manufacturing state, mainly in textiles, after the American Revolution. Manufacturing concerns produced jewelry, silverware, electrical equipment, textiles, transport equipment and fabricated materials. Since Rhode Island was deindustrialized from the twentieth century, the proportion of wage earners in manufacturing decreased from nearly 3 fifth from 1900 to less than one 6th by the early twenty-first century. 

The decrease of Rhode Island's textile industry was accompanied by that of numerous other producers, especially those most closely associated with textiles. In most respects, Rhode Island suffered through an economic depression from 1920 to late 50s. The only manufacturing sector that bucked the general trend in majority of the century was jewelry making, and Rhode Island was dubbed the jewelry capital of the world., Until the late 20th century, the state produced much of the costume jewelry made in the United States, but global competition caused Rhode Island's share of even that activity to drop sharply in the 1990's