arrangement of moving and stationary mechanical parts used to perform some useful work
or to provide transportation. From a historical perspective, many of the first machines were the result of human efforts to improve war-making capabilities; the term engineer
at one time had an exclusively military connotation. In the United States the original colonies were not permitted to make or import machine tools; it was only after the Revolution that the first manufacturing machines were built (c.1790) by Samuel Slater for a textile mill in Pawtucket, R.I.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.