Crompton Mill, home of the “Velvet Mills,” the first U.S. company to manufacture velveteens and corduroys, by 1888 employed 600 and operated 40,000 spindles and 1,000 looms in buildings on the west and east side of the river. Sadly the west building, built in 1882-85, burned in 1992 due to arson (see video). Production finally ended in bankruptcy in 1984. The current tenants include Mike’s Estate Services a high end estate liquidation and consignment shop which makes for an interesting visit, both for the beautiful goods and to see the inside of the mill. Also, for a nice break, go left/south on Manchester St., to just beyond the end of the mill on the right to Crompton Village River Park’s boardwalk for a view of the mill pond and part of the complex (see the map image).
In 1807, the Providence Manufacturing Company built a stone mill on the east side of the Pawtuxet River. The mill, called the "Stone Jug", was three stories, 117’ X 33’ with 2,190 spindles, and was very likely the sixth cotton mill and the first stone textile mill built in Rhode Island. It was named after English inventor Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule.
The company failed in 1816, and the mill was apparently idle until 1823 when it was bought by the Crompton Company who began calico printing. More mills were added in 1828 and 1832. In 1866 a new owner produced print cloth, and later velveteens and corduroys in a new building west of the river (which burned in 1992).
The Crompton Company expanded into several Southern states but couldn’t outlast foreign competition and filed for bankruptcy in October 1984. When it went out of business it was the oldest textile firm in the country, having been in continuous operation for 178 years having started right here in Crompton, Rhode Island.