Starting in the first two decades of the 19th century, factory employers began to recruit and employ young women of the ages between 15 and 30 to run their machines. Availability was an important factor; in New England there was a surplus of young unmarried women willing to take up the work. Despite the fact that they were not paid as men would have been, the wages these new employers offered were attractive and the factory towns offered a freedom and excitement that drew young women from rural farms to the developing urban centers.