The industries in the northern and middle colonies were undergoing rapid development. Thanks to the strong population growth and highly developed business connections, industries were barely able to keep up with demand.
Some industries were related to the exploitation of a natural resource. In New England, fishing and whaling enabled shipbuilding to flourish. This activity then led to the development of the lumber industry and the manufacture of ropes and tar.
Iron production was very important in the colonies, especially in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. At the time, the colonies had as many blast furnaces and forges as the motherland, which was on the verge of entering the Industrial Revolution.
Just about everywhere, alcohol was being made in breweries and distilleries. The former used hops and barley, which were local agricultural products. The latter made whiskey from wheat or produced rum using molasses imported from the West Indies.
Mills were even more common than breweries and distilleries. These mills were used to transform local products like wood into boards or wheat into flour. Mills were scattered across the countryside and were at the heart of the colony’s growing villages.
Author: Léon Robichaud
See also – Traces of the past: