Abby’s entries from October 1867 continue:
Tuesday 15: Fred Taylor, Eaton & C. came up in the evening. Had a nice time. Next Tuesday we are going to have a small sociable. F.T. is to invite the boys. I and Clara the girls.
Wednesday October 16: Went over to the Pacific Mills and into one or two shops to see Steam Engines with the Philosophy class. Was very tired on reaching home.
Thursday 17: Went down to Aunt Abbie’s to see Grandmother and Aunt L. – they went yesterday morning from here. Stayed to tea. Father and Mother came in the evening.
Friday 18: Went after ferns at Indian Ridge with Clara Brown. Called on Hattie and she showed me her new jewelry Rosa brought her from abroad. Both elegant sets.
Saturday October 19: called on G. Ray after school. Virgie Houghton came to make Louise a visit. She has been expecting her some time. Mr. F. spent the evening.
Sunday 20: Mr. Frye, Virgie. Louise and I went to the young men’s lecture by Mr. Babbit in the eve. In the middle of the prayer a cow bellowed and it sounded so funny we laughed.
The Pacific Mills was a Lawrence corporation with Andover roots. The company had been established in 1853, when Mr. Jeremiah S. Young (one of Abraham Marland’s sons-in-law) transferred the worsted operation (including specialized machinery imported from England for the manufacture of delaines – a high-grade woolen fabric for ladies clothing) from its original location in Ballardvale. Pacific Mills was incorporated with The Essex Company’s Abbot Lawrence, one of the founders of the city, as President, and Young as Treasurer, and an initial capitalization of one million dollars. The years between the company’s incorporation and the end of the Civil War were not profitable, but the company was known for the modernity of its equipment, including the first fine combing machines brought into the country and a dyeing and printing process that could turn out cloth – both cotton, wool and blends — with 16 different shades and colors. In 1867 (the year of Abby’s visit) the Pacific Mills won a medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris for “developing a spirit of harmony among all those cooperating in the same work, and have provided for the material, moral and intellectual well-being of the workmen. “
The main operations of all the Lawrence mills were powered by water turbines turned by the mightly Merrimack River, but portable steam engines were used for internal jobs such as heating (and humidifying) the factory work areas, turning mills for grinding lead and other minerals for the dyeing process and running the elevator. The engines Abby visited (as part of her “Natural Philosophy” or physics class) were likely some version of the “Cinderella” manufactured by Lawrence’s J.C. Hoadley Co. The company sold 762 engines between the years 1857 and 1870 (many to the Essex Company and the Lawrence mills) and “gained a good reputation for efficiency , safety, durability, convenience and general utility, combined with reasonable economy of fuel.”