A culture that relied predominantly on being self-sufficient, the Shaker Society did begin to decline with the start of the Industrial Revolution. While many advances in technology allowed the Shakers to purchase cheaper clothing from local cities and save valuable labor time, it also set back income that would normally be generated from the efforts of handmade goods. To learn more about the impacts of technological advances, please see Industrial Revolution and a Declining Society.
This decline in income also led to a slower converts, which the society relied on to create its communities. At its peak, each village could hold up to three or four hundred converts and the society as a whole in the United States numbered five thousand. This began to decline severely by the end of the 1800s and the Hancock Shaker Village was sold to become the museum that stands today by the 1959. To learn more about the two remaining Shakers, please see Present Day Shakers at Sabbath Day Lake, Maine.