This article uses American merchants' papers to identify the leading English textile exporters to New York and Philadelphia (1750–1805). It shows that Yorkshire and Lancashire took the initiative from London after 1783. The north's ascendancy stemmed from refinements to a well-functioning trading system rather than from the creation of wholly new channels of trade. The emergent exporters of Leeds and Manchester were driven as much by the dictates of sales as of manufacturing; their factory investments were just one component of a series of connections with production. American importers retained their role as intermediaries between English exporters and backcountry retailers.