Paterson, a city and the capital of Passaic co., New Jersey, on the Passaic river, at the falls, and on the Morris canal and the Erie, the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western, and the New Jersey Midland railroads, 11 m. N. of Newark, and 17 m. by rail N. W. of New York; pop. in 1850, 11,334; in 1860, 19,586; in 1870, 33,579, of whom 12,868 were foreigners, including 5,124 natives of Ireland, 3,347 of England, 1,429 of Germany, and 1,360 of Holland. The river here describes a curve, forming the boundary of the city for more than 9 m. on all sides except the south, and is crossed by 14 bridges, several of which are fine structures, one just above the falls having a single span of 260 ft. The falls have a perpendicular descent of 50 ft., and the scenery in the vicinity is very picturesque. There is a small and rugged park around then), and in the S. E. corner of the city, on a hillside sloping down to Dundee lake, a fine sheet of water 3 m. long and 1/2 m. wide, is Cedar Lawn cemetery. Paterson is well built, with paved streets, generally wide and straight and lighted with gas, and contains a large number of handsome residences, particularly in Broadway. The principal public buildings are the court house and jail, market, city almshouse, first national bank, and the opera house.
In the vicinity of the falls are a monument to the citizens who fell in the civil war and a tower overlooking the city and surrounding country. Paterson is the residence of many persons doing business in New York, but it owes its prosperity chiefly to its manufactures, for which the falls afford abundant power. The two most important industries are the manufacture of silk goods and locomotives. The silks include ribbons, machine twist, sewing silk, dress silks, handkerchiefs, veils, neckties, scarfs, fringes, braids, bindings, etc. The dyeing of silk is also an important branch of the business. There are about 25 corporations and firms engaged in the silk manufacture and three locomotive works, besides which there are five cotton mills, producing cloths, yarns, shoe lacings, tape, mosquito nettings, buckrams, etc.; a steam fire engine manufactory, a bridge-building company, several iron works and rolling mills producing forgings and machinery of various kinds, a woollen mill, print works, a paper mill, a manufactory of Whitney sewing machines, two of wire, one of brass steam and gas fittings, one of shawls, one of linen thread, one of ingrain carpets, two of chemicals, and several of flax, hemp, and jute goods, embracing twine, cordage, bagging, and ladies' hair switches.
The locomotive works in prosperous times employ about 3,000 hands, but since the financial panic of 1873 this business has been much depressed. In that year the capital invested in the manufacture of silk amounted to $4,000,000; the number of hands employed was 4,000, and the amount paid in wages $2,-000,000. All branches of iron work employed 3,758 hands, paying wages to the amount of $2,511,000, and producing articles to the Value of $8,517,000. In flax, hemp, and jute manufactures there were employed 1,390 hands, and goods were produced to the value of $1,748,-000; the wages paid in these branches during the year amounted to $413,384. The city contains two national banks with a joint capital of $550,000, a loan and trust company, two savings institutions, and a fire insurance company. It is divided into nine wards, is governed by a mayor and board of aldermen, and has a small police force and a good fire department, with a fire alarm telegraph. It is supplied with water from three reservoirs near the falls, into which it is pumped from the river by the Passaic water company, a private corporation. Two lines of horse cars accommodate local travel.
There are nine large public school buildings, with good graded schools, including a high school two daily and four weekly (two German) newspapers; and 39 churches (in several of which the services are conducted in Dutch), viz.: 4 Baptist, 1 Congregational, 3 Episcopal, 1 Independent, 1 Jewish, 10 Methodist, 7 Presbyterian, 7 Reformed, 4 Roman Catholic, and 1 Swedenborgian. - Paterson was founded in 1792 by a company incorporated for manufacturing purposes, under the auspices of Alexander Hamilton. The act of incorporation as a town was signed by Gov. William Paterson on July 4 of that year, and in honor of him it was named. It received a city charter in 1851.