View of Waltham, Mass.

Author: O.H. Bailey & Co.
Publisher: O.H. Bailey & Co.
Date: 1877
Location: Waltham (Mass.)

Dimensions: 51.0 x 66.0 cm.
Scale: Not drawn to scale
Call Number: G3764.W2A3 1877 .O43


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Drawn from the southwest looking towards the northeast, this view of Waltham emphasizes the town's location straddling the Charles River. The central focus is a large industrial complex located on the river and identified as the Boston Manufacturing Company. Meanwhile the American Watch Company, also located on the river's edge, appears at the bottom center. This composition certainly directs attention to the town's two major industries. Located on the Charles River eight miles west of Boston, Waltham is often called the true birth place of America's Industrial Revolution. Although Waltham was incorporated as a separate town in 1738, it was primarily a farming community until 1814 when the location attracted the attention of Boston financier, Francis Cabot Lowell. After a journey to England inspecting industrial operations, he returned to Boston intending to construct a similar enterprise. Having memorized plans for the successful British power loom, he built the first integrated textile factory in America, incorporating both spinning and weaving into the same location. For this initial endeavor, which was organized as the Boston Manufacturing Company, he selected a site which capitalized on water power provided by the 12-foot waterfall at Waltham. Bailey's view of Waltham captures the late-19th century prosperity of the community. The Boston Manufacturing Company has expanded at its original site and at a second location on the eastern edge of the town. It has been joined by another major factory complex the American or Waltham Watch Company. The latter company pioneered the process of mass production with interchangeable parts. Accentuating this sense of prosperity, the view prominently presents five churches, drawn out of proportion to the town's other structures. Circa 1877.

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