Fab Industries

Great Neck, NY

Par oneri or Equal to the Task. The motto of Fab Industries

Fab was founded in 1955 in a former rug mill in Amsterdam, NY by Samson Bitensky as a small lace netting company called “Fab­Lace, Inc.” Since that time, Fab has primarily been a knitter of man­made fiber yarns on tricot and raschel knitting machines. Fab continues in the lace business and is one of the world’s largest vertical producers (1984). The company grew over the years. Circular knitting was added in 1964. In 1966, John MacArthur asked Bitensky to take over a foreclosed North Carolina textile mill, Mohican Corporation which operated the Raval Lace Company in Lincolnton, NC. Bitensky reorganized his company as Fab Industries, and added MacArthur to the board. He began the large­scale manufacturing of tricot knits and other fabrics. The company went public in 1968 as Fab Industries. He developed SupersuedeTM, a lighter, more flexible fabric than UltrasuedeTM. It is in the urethane coating business for shoes and handbags. In home furnishings, Fab manufactures products for draperies, curtains, bedspreads and upholstery. Cuts and sews bedding to over- the­counter retailers. Sells bolt goods through retail fabric stores. (1984) (1,2)

Plants (1984):

Adirondack Knitting Amsterdam, NY Tricot Knit
Gem Urethane Amsterdam, NY Urethane Coating
Mohican Mills Lincolnton, NC Tricot, Finishing and Lacing
Salisbury Mfg. Corp. Salisbury, NC Sheets and Blankets
Travis Knits Maiden, NC Circular Knit
Travis Finishing Cherryville, NC Knit Finishing

Fab has been in the vanguard of the knitting industry with sales of over $90 million for the 39 weeks ended August 15, 1984. Net income of $5.6 million on sales per employee of $78,000 and earnings per share of $1.20 were reported in 1983. Kurt Salmon Associates’ 12th Annual Performance Profile of publicly­held textile companies for 1983 ranked Fab first in net income on sales of 8.2%. (1,2)

Mr. Bitensky became an angel for the budding textile engineering design program at the College of Textiles, North Carolina State University when he presented a technical problem. How to separate narrow bands of lace from wide raschel knitted fabric? He sought a fabric guidance system and a blade sharpening system that would greatly increase productivity and quality, while reducing the scrap produced in the narrow band separating process. When the students presented a viable system, Bitensky commercialized it and presented a cash prize to the department. The college acknowledged the gift by naming a portion of the Textile Engineering Design Laboratory as the ‘Fab Textile Engineering Laboratory’ in honor of Mr. Bitensky. (3)

Samson Bitensky died in 2006 at the age of 86. (2) Steven Myers, son­in­law became President of Fab. Current consumer products (2010) can be found at the website. http://www.shopceliarachel.com/

 

Sources:

  1. L. A. Christiansen, “Fab Industries: Flexibility to spring for new markets.” Textile World. December 1984 p36­61.
  2. http://www.nysun.com/obituaries/samson­bitensky­86­introduced­supersuede/33079/
  3. Personal communication, Timothy Clapp and Jon Rust, October, 2010.