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John Philip Holland designed and tested his first submarines in Paterson. The Holland I was fabricated at an iron works in New York City then moved to the J. C. Todd and Company machine shop in Paterson in 1878. Here, a petroleum engine was installed for propulsion. The sub measured 14 feet long. Trial runs were conducted in the Passaic River above the Great Falls. The boat reached a depth of 12 feet and traveled at a speed of 3 1/2 miles per hour. The maximum submergence time was about one hour.

Holland made many advances in submarine design, experimenting with compressed air, steam and electricity as means of propulsion. Six of his submarines were built altogether. The second Holland submarine, the Fenian Ram, was launched in 1881. It was a three-man boat and made dives in excess of 45 feet. The last Holland submarine, the Holland VI, built in 1897, became the first vessel in the U.S. Naval Submarine Fleet, commissioned as the U.S.S. Holland. This was a major breakthrough in submarine design. For the first time, all the major components of submarine design were present in one vessel - dual propulsion systems, a fixed longitudinal center of gravity, separate main and auxiliary ballast systems, a hydrodynamically advanced shape, and a modern weapons system. It used a gasoline engine while running on the surface and an electric motor while submerged. At top surface speed, it could reach a speed of seven knots. Its length was 53 feet long. It had a range of 1000 miles on the surface and 30 miles submerged.

Click here for excerpts from the Great Falls Visitor Center's Historic Notes: The Invention of Holland's Submarine.

Excerpts from the NPS HAER Report NJ-11:
The Barbour Flax Spinning Company was one of the largest linen works in the country in the second half of the 19th century, employing some 440 people to process over a million and a half pounds of flax annually.  Thomas Barbour, sent by his family from Ireland to establish an American branch of the family's prosperous linen thread company, bought Passaic Mill #2 in 1864 for $60,000.  He simultaneously acquired the rights to the two square feet of water deeded to the lot and in 1865, leased an additional 288" from the S.U.M.  Rechristened the "Belfast Mill", the building was reoutfitted for the production of linen thread and yarn.

Power for the linen works was supplied by water from the upper canal, and by 1870, 120 horsepower was being delivered from a 54" turbine wheel.  That year, 40 men, 200 women, and 200 children tended Barbour spindles, processing 1,508,00 pounds of Irish flax into 792,000 pounds of machine thread, 150,000 pounds of tailer's thread and 20,000 pounds of linen twines.

Joachim Velasquez, a wealthy Mexican who was living in New York City, founded the Phoenix Mill in 1815. The mill produced candlewick and cotton, later switching to linen and flax production. In 1860, Benjamin Tilt began silk production on the top floor of the factory, and by 1865 he controlled the entire structure, converting it from cotton production to silk. In the 1880s, the Phoenix Company employed 8,000 people and had 500 looms.
Click here for excerpts from the NPS HAER REPORT NO. NJ-4: Phoenix Mill, Van Houten and Cianci Streets

The Dolphin Jute Company, established in 1844, converted hemp and jute into twine, rope and carpet backing. One of Paterson's largest mills, it encompassed 17 buildings.

The Franklin Mill, earlier known as the old "Red Mill," was burned and rebuilt several times. The current building was constructed in 1870 and expanded in 1915. It was used to produce cotton yarn, silk, steam fire engines, brass domes for locomotives, and other machinery. Within the past decade, it has been restored as an office complex.

The Essex Mill occupies the site that was the first to be leased from the S.U.M.  The current building contains a portion of the original "Yellow Mill,"  which was built in 1807.  Charles Kinsey, the first tenant of this mill, conducted one of the earliest attempts to manufacture paper using a continuous sheet process. Over the years, this building was reconstructed and expanded to produce cotton, mosquito netting and silk. It has recently been restored into government subsidized housing for artists and musicians.

Catholina Lambert began work as a ten-year-old in a Yorkshire cotton mill. At seventeen, he was an office boy in a Boston silk firm, Tilt & Dexter.  Two years later, he bought the shares of a retiring principal of the firm and renamed the company Dexter, Lambert, and Company.  He eventually relocated it to Paterson and by 1890, he was one of the largest mill owners in Paterson.  There he made enough money from his five mills (including two in Pennsylavania) to pay for the English-style castle he built on Garret Mountain and also for his collection of some 400 original paintings by Renoir, Monet, Courbet, Rembrandt, and others.

The Silk Strike of 1913 put a great strain on the silk manufacturing business.  Despite Lambert's vast private wealth, or perhaps because of it (so much of his income had been spent in economically nonproductive ways), he could not recover from the strike and was forced to declare bankruptcy.  His famous art collection was auctioned by the American Art Galleries in the Grand Ballroom of New York's Hotel Plaza in 1916.  The sale of 365 paintings and numerous scupltures brought him $592,050, which was estimated at about one-third of the real value.

Today, the Lambert Castle Museum is headquarters for the Passaic County Historical Society and features gracious 19th century period rooms along with fascinating exhibits relating to the history of Passaic County.

One of the most extensive industries in Paterson was carried out by the Ivanhoe Manufacturing Company, which was among the most complete in the world devoted to paper production. Henry V. Butler, the founder of this vast establishment, introduced the process of boiling stock under pressure in rotary boilers, a method that was universally adopted throughout this country and in Europe. The rope, cotton waste and rags were picked, cleansed, boiled and manipulated until they left the mill in the form of the finest, whitest writing paper.

In 1837, Roswell L. Colt built a substantial stone mill, located on the upper raceway, especially for the purposes of this firm. The mill was called the Passaic Mill and it furnished paper for the most foremost publishers in the country, including the American Bible Society, the Methodist Book concern, the Appletons, Carter Brothers and others.

The Ivanhoe Wheelhouse was built in 1865 to house an 87-inch water turbine that supplied power to the Ivanhoe complex of ten buildings. All of the buildings are gone now, except for the wheelhouse, which was recently restored. It sits next to the spillway between the upper and middle raceway.

Click here for excerpts from the Great Falls Visitor Center'sHistoric Notes: The Ivanhoe Wheelhouse

In 1910, the S.U.M. developed plans to build a hydroelectric station at the Great Falls to replace the waterpower from the raceway. The station had a maximum capacity of 6500 horsepower, with its four huge turbines generating 21 million kilowatts per year. It operated from 1914 to 1969, at which time the plant was damaged by a flood. Through interest in renewal, this plant has been restored to working order. It went back on line December 31, 1986 and an overhaul on the turbines was started in October 1999.

Waterpower systems use an energy source that is free. They do not pollute and do not use up the energy source, but return it unchanged to the river. Compared to fossil fuels, they are very efficient. One disadvantage to waterpower is the reduction in flowing water caused by droughts. However, as fossil fuels become more costly, small hydroelectric sites, like the one at the Great Falls, are becoming more attractive.

During World War II, Paterson became a major center of Curtiss-Wright engine production. In 1920, the Wright Aeronautical Corporation designed and built the Whirlwind and Cyclone aircraft engines, which made aviation history. In 1927 Charles Lindberg had a 200 Horsepower J-1 air-cooled Whirlwind Engine custom-made for his historic solo Trans-Atlantic flight. Through the 1930's and 40's, the company employed as many as 25,000 workers and manufactured over 120,000 various types of aircraft. It was during this period of time that Paterson was called "The Aviation City".

The Curtiss-Wright Corporation had a lot of history in early aviation with the Wright in the name coming from the Wright Brothers. This company was of significant importance to the outcome of WWII. They manufactured the P 40 Warhawk Fighter, C 46 Commando Cargo Transport, SB2C Helldiver Navy Bomber, Army A 25 Helldiver, Seagull Navy Scout Plane and the Republic Thunderbolt Fighter.