In 1789, British mechanical engineer Samuel Slater immigrated to the United States, where he became an important figure in America’s fledgling cotton industry. What was unusual about Slater’s case however?

Answer: In emigrating he was breaking the law. Keen to keep their superior national position, British law made the export of cotton machinery or data, and the emigration of textile workers, illegal. Indeed Slater, lured by large cash rewards in the United States, had to emigrate under a false name. Slater became known as the ‘Father of the American Industrial Revolution’.

Source: Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia by David Crystal

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