The village was founded by David Dale (1739-1806) in 1785, with the support of Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning-frame, who thought the spot might be made the Manchester of Scotland.
Cotton was first imported to Providence from Spain in 1785; a company to carry on cotton-spinning, formed at Providence in 1786, established there in the following year a factory containing a spinning jenny of 28 spindles (the first machine of the kind to be used in the United States), and also a carding machine and a spinning frame with which was manufactured a kind of jean having a linen warp and a cotton filling.
The product is wound on to the bobbin by means of flyer and spindle, and is known as dandied or fine roving, and is then ready for the spinning frame.
This business he gave up about 1767 in order to devote himself to the construction of the spinning frame.
The thread spun by the jenny could not, however, be used except as weft, being destitute of the firmness or hardness required in the longitudinal threads or warp. Arkwright supplied this deficiency by the invention of the spinning-frame, which spins a vast number of threads of any degree of fineness and hardness.