\] In 1769 the first factory was built and established by Richard Arkwright in Derbyshire, England. This factory was actually for making silk but, since only wealthy people could afford this product, production remained very low. Cotton, on the other hand, was far less expensive. It was also stronger and more easily colored and washed than wool or linen It all started with the textile (cloth) industry. Making cloth, by hand, for pants, shirts, socks, bedspreads and other domestic items had always required lots of skill and time. As population grew in England, more people needed and were willing to buy textile goods. The cottage industry showed how much people could produce in their homes through spinning and weaving cloth by hand. But this domestic production system could not keep up with the growing demands of England’s growing population. Instead, starting in the late 18th century, a series of innovations shifted textile production to a new factory system. And cotton led the way. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, cotton became the world’s most important non-food agricultural product-- and it remains so to this day.