Located in the north west of England, Macclesfield was once one of the greatest producers of silk in the world. A cottage industry of silk covered buttons in the 1500s expanded in the 1600s to include hand throwing silk yarn and narrow loom weaving for a variety of small goods. Industrialization soon followed with the first water-powered throwing mill built in 1744. The Napoleonic Wars were advantageous to the rapid expansion of the British silk industry from 1800 to 1825. At mid-century, production peaked at some 120 mills and dye houses.
The immigration of many silk workers to Paterson, New Jersey to work in silk mills operated by Macclesfield families assured their success.