Galey & Lord is founded as a partnership by Charles E. Lord and William T. Galey in Chester, PA and New York City in 1886. Galey & Lord was established as a marketer and sales agent of textiles manufactured by a joint venture founded by the two partners, Aberfoyle Mills Corporation, Chester, PA, founded 1889. (1,3) Aberfoyle Mills Corporation was organized in August 1907 to control the output of their mills and of many of the other largest companies manufacturing cotton goods. The officers: President W.T. Galey; V.P. C. E. Lord; Sec. John P. Wood; and Treas. Kenneth Lord. The production of mills was sold through Galey & Lord, New York. (2)
The firm, Galey & Lord and William T. Galey, were important enough to merit mention in Posselt’s Journal 1910 in their “Men You Know” feature.
Men You Know,
Posselt’s Journal 1910
Courtesy Peter Metzke
Hope Mills No. 2, Cotton, NC during the flood of August 27, 1908 Courtesy of Bill Wornall Textile Postcard Collection
For its first 25 years, Galey & Lord focused on marketing natural fibers produced by Aberfoyle and other textile mills. They were also instrumental in introducing rayon manufactured by the American Viscose Co. in Marcus Hook, PA near their roots in Chester, PA. Kenneth Lord introduced the term rayon for the synthetic cellulose fiber at a viscose conference in 1924. (1)
Galey & Lord incorporated in 1921, adopted a very Toulouse Lautrecinspired logo and began representing mills based in Cramerton, Gaston County, NC. William G. Lord joined the firm and began promoting new uses for the fabrics made by their mills. In 1931, they introduced Cramerton Army Cloth to replace the doughboy fabrics used in World War I. (1) A photo on the Swift Galey web site shows Flying Tiger pilots wearing uniforms cut from this 8.2 oz Cramerton Mills fabric. The 100% cotton khakis and poplins were a tremendous hit and brought fame to the company.
Galey and Lord was therefore a wellestablished name in apparel fabrics when Burlington acquired the company in 1946. Prominent clothiers shared advertising with Galey & Lord, division of Burlington in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the mid 1960s, six prominent socialites had their portraits painted by Henry Koehler. The garments were crafted using G& L fabrics. Ads appeared in the New York Times Feb 2, 1965.
In June 2004, Galey & Lord announced the closing of the Shannon, GA weaving plant, thereby eliminating 450 jobs. Some operations were to be relocated to the Marion, NC plant (4) Federal bankruptcy court approved the sale of Galey & Lord to Patriarch Partners for $40 million and assumption of debt and other liabilities. (5)
- Swift Galey website, accessed Sept. 3, 2009.
- New York Times, Aug. 22, 1907.
- Davison’s Textile Blue Book 1927.
- “Galey & Lord’s closing textile plant,” Raleigh News & Observer, June 9, 2004.
- “Fabric Maker sold to Patriarch,” Raleigh News& Observer, Nov 1, 2004 page 8B.
Here are ads from 1959 featuring artwork of their cotton and Dacron and cotton fabrics crafted into better designer clothing. Ads courtesy of Peter Metzke and Greg Tourino.
Frank Smith, Designer for Masket Brothers 1959
For Gordon of Philadelphia
For Eagle Clothes
Further Galey & Lord story at Truth Plus blog along with colored illustrations.