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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Clinton (Massachusetts)

CLINTON, a township of Worcester county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., in the central part of the state, on the Nashua river, about 15 m. N.N.E. of Worcester. Pop. (1890) 10,424; (1900) 13,667, of whom 5504 were foreign-born; (1910, U.S. census) 13,075. The township is traversed by the Boston & Maine, and New York, New Haven & Hartford railways. It contains 7 sq. m. of varied and picturesque hilly country on the E. slope of the highland water-parting between the Connecticut river and the Atlantic. There is charming scenery along the Nashua river, the chief stream. The S.W. corner of the township is now part of an immense water reservoir, the Wachusett dam and reservoir (excavated 1896-1905; circumference, 35.2 m.), on the S. branch of the Nashua, which will hold 63,000 million gallons of water for the supply of the metropolitan region around Boston. On this is situated the village of Clinton, which has large manufactories, among whose products are cotton and woollen fabrics, carpets, wire-cloth, iron and steel, and combs. The textile and carpet mills are among the most famous in the United States. In 1905 the total factory product of the township was valued at $5,457,865, the value of cotton goods, carpets and wire-work constituting about nine-tenths of the total. The prominence of the township as a manufacturing centre is due to Erastus Brigham Bigelow (1814-1879), one of the incorporators of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who devised power-looms for the weaving of a variety of figured fabrics,—coach-lace, counterpanes, ginghams, silk brocatel, tapestry carpeting, ingrain and Brussels carpets,—and revolutionized their manufacture. In 1843 he and his brother Horatio N. Bigelow established in Clinton the Lancaster Mills for the manufacture of ginghams. From 1845 to 1851 he perfected his loom for the weaving of Brussels and Wilton carpets, the greatest of his inventions; and he established the Bigelow Carpet Mills here. He also invented the loom for the weaving of wire-cloth. It is claimed that the first production in the United States of finished cotton cloths under one roof and under the factory system was not at Waltham in 1816, but at Clinton in 1813; neither place was the first to spin by power, nor the first to produce finished cloths without the factory system. The comb industry dates from the eighteenth century. The first of the modern textile mills were established in 1838 for the manufacture of coach-lace. Clinton was a part of Lancaster, now a small farming township (pop. in 1910, 2464), until 1850, when it was set off as an independent township. The earliest settlement goes back to 1645.

See A. E. Ford, History of the Origin of the Town of Clinton, Massachusetts, 1653-1865 (Clinton, 1896).