Robert Owen (14 May 1771 – 17 November 1858) was a Welsh social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. In 1824, Owen travelled to America to invest the bulk of his fortune in an experimental 1,000-member colony on the banks of Indiana's Wabash River, called New Harmony. New Harmony was to be a utopian, or ideal/perfect, society. Before traveling to America, he was an industrialist in Scotland.
Robert Owen was born in Newtown, a small market town in Montgomeryshire, Mid Wales, in 1771. He was the sixth of seven children. His father, also named Robert Owen, had a small business as a saddler and ironmonger. Owen's mother was a Miss Williams, and came from one of the prosperous farming families. Here young Owen received almost all his school education, which ended at the age of ten. In 1787, after serving in a draper's shop for some years, he settled in London. He travelled to Manchester, and was employed at Satterfield's Drapery in St. Ann's Square (a plaque currently marks the site). By the time he was 21, he was a mill manager in Manchester at the Chorlton Twist Mills. His entrepreneurial spirit, management skill and progressive moral views were emerging by the early 1790s. In 1793, he was elected as a member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, where the ideas of reformers and philosophers of the Enlightenment were discussed. He also became a committee member of the Manchester Board of Health which was instigated, principally by Thomas Percival, to promote improvements in the health and working conditions of factory workers...
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