The distribution of manufacturing plants in the state still reflects the early patterns of industrial development. Because of Rhode Island’s early industrialization at a time when industry depended on waterpower, the older industrial areas in Rhode Island lie along the Blackstone, Pawtucket, and Pawtuxet rivers. Woonsocket, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Providence, Cranston, and Warwick are the major manufacturing centers.
The manufacture of jewelry and silverware is one of Rhode Island’s leading industries. The state is an important center for the production of both costume and precious jewelry and is also the home of many of America’s leading silversmiths. Textile manufacturing, for years the state’s leading economic activity, declined in the second half of the 20th century but still contributes substantially to the state’s economy. Much of the fine lace produced in the United States is made in Rhode Island.
Many yarns, woolens, worsteds, synthetic fabrics, knitted goods, and other high-quality textiles are also produced. Other industries that contribute substantially to Rhode Island’s economy are those making fabricated metal components, particularly structural metal used in buildings; industries producing electrical equipment, especially that used in lighting and wiring; makers of machinery and parts for other industries; manufacturers of instruments, such as surgical appliances and navigation equipment; manufacturers of plastic goods; printers and publishers; industries forging primary metals such as steel and aluminum; and firms that process food. "Rhode Island" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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