Historic Textile Companies

In December 1999, an article in Textile World celebrated 23 historic companies, which had passed through their 100th birthday.  Due to mergers and acquisitions, not all of these mills still operated independently, but all had achieved significant milestones.  After hearing from their readers, four more companies qualified for this list by February 2000.  Others also qualified and were not listed.  By 2008, a number of these (at least seven) have sadly passed by the wayside.  Information augmented from current web sites.

Later additions to 1999 Textile World list (2), (3)
Additions in Feb 2000 Textile World

1813 WestPoint Stevens. www.martex.com
Incorporating J. P. Stevens & Co. 1813 and Pepperell Manufacturing 1844

1824 Cranston Print Works www.cpw.com
Founded by then Rhode Island Governor William Sprague as Sprague Print Works in Cranston, RI. Now headquartered in Webster, MA.

1830 Woolrich, Inc., Plum Run, PA www.woolrich.com
Now located in Woolrich, PA

1844  Brownell & Co. Although Brownell officially incorporated in 1844 in Moodus, CT, its manufacturing history dates to 1825 when Edmund Brownell began manufacturing fish­net cording, ropes and twine from linen and cotton. In the early years, Brownell built machinery for the company. Now a high tech manufacturer of textiles for recreational and industrial uses. www.brownellarchery.com

1845 Avondale, Inc. Founded as Monroe (GA) Mills. Ceased operation in May 2006.
http://www.nationaltextile.org/nta/history/avondale.htm

1845 Mt. Vernon Mills Acquired by in 1982 by R.B. Pamplin Corporation.
Incorporating Riegel Textile Corp. 1985 Headquarters Mauldin, SC http://www.mvmills.com/company/

1853 Warren Corporation Founded as Converseville Co. by Parley Converse
http://www.macraesbluebook.com/search/company.cfm?company=335369

1860 James Thompson Company, New York, NY Started in Valley Falls, New York, but that mill closed.  Current manufacturing in Greenwood, DE. A diversified manufacturer of ducks, canvas, etc. (3)  www.jamesthompson.com

1863 JPS Elastomerics. Founded in Easthampton, MA as Easthampton Rubber Thread Company by Samuel Williston. Later a part of J. P. Stevens & Co. before that company was split apart. Portions joined WestPoint, and another formed Gulistan Carpet. http://www.jpselastomerics.com/

1865 Ames Textile Corporation, Lowell, MA. Furnishers of fabrics for athletic team uniforms and synthetic filament yarns.  http://www.amestextile.com/

1865 Globe Dye Works. ­ a Philadelphia dyer of natural and manmade yarns, serves mills throughout PA, NJ, NE and the Carolinas. Globe is a private company with 5th generation ownership by the Greenwood family. Began as a partnership between Richard Greenwood and William Bault.

1865 Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, SC Diversified textile and chemical company. http://www.milliken.com/.  Founded as Deering and Milliken

1865 Oakdale Cotton Mills, Jamestown, NC Modern twisting, cabling, winding and dyeing facility. http://oakdalecotton.com/about_us.htm Founded on the Deep River as Logan Manufacturing Co.

1865 Troy Mills, Troy, NH Blankets and later automotive fabrics. Closed July 2001 http://www.nationaltextile.org/nta/history/troy.htm

1865 Globe Dye Works A Philadelphia dyer of natural and manmade yarns until 2005, they served mills throughout PA, NJ, New England and the Carolinas. Globe was a private company with fifth generation ownership by the Greenwood family. www.globedyeworks.com/

1867 Chatham Manufacturing, Elkin, NC. Sold 1988 to Northern Feather, in 1992 to CMI Industries and in 2000 to Interface Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatham_Manufacturing_Company

1868 Ludlow Textiles, Ludlow, MA Began as Ludlow Manufacturing and was primarily jute manufacturing, serving the carpet mills in the North East. Today (2000), the company is owned by Martin A. Lower, who is Chairman, President and CEO. Primary products are man made threads, twisted yarns, twines, cords and natural fiber products for industrial markets. The company was sold to American & Efird in 2005.

1869 G. J. Littlewood & Son, Philadelphia, PA is a family­owned (2000) commercial dye house that specializes in high­pressure, high­temperature dyeing of natural and synthetic fibers. The company is operated by the fourth and fifth generations of Littlewoods. In the early days, the plant was primarily a bleacher and dyer of cotton warps, skein yarns and raw cotton. The company used water from the Schuylkill River and a natural spring. www.littlewooddyers.com/

1873 Spartan Mills later Spartan International. Closed 2007. Formed from Cleveland (NC) Mills. http://www.wyff4.com/news/754098/detail.html

1880 Shuford Mills, Granite Falls, NC Abel Alexander Shuford founded a small cotton spinning mill, Shuford, Gywn & Co., in Granite Falls. Shuford, born in 1841, served in the Confederate Army as a sergeant during the war. In 1904, he built Granite Falls Mill No. 1. Recently (prior to 2000), the Hickory (NC) Daily Record named AA Shuford as its “Person of the Century.” Manufacturers of Outdura performance fabrics.  www.shufordmills.com

1882 Dan River Inc.  Founded as Riverside Cotton Mills (on the Dan River), Danville, VA, later incorporating The New Cherokee Corp., the Bibb Co., and in 2005, the purchase by GHCL Ltd., an India based company.  http://www.danriver.com/history.aspx

1882 Swift Textiles. Purchased by Dominion of Canada. No longer in business. Founded as Excelsior Mills, Columbus, GA

1883 Glen Raven, Glen Raven, NC www.glenraven.com
Founded as Altamahaw Cotton Mill in Altamahaw, NC by the Holt family and Jesse Gant.

1884 Chipman Union Mill Inc., Union Point, GA. A sock manufacturer in Union Point, GA. Famous for Odor­Eater brand. Bankrupt in 2001 http://www.library.gatech.edu/archives/finding­aids/display/xsl/MS155

1887 Cannon Mills, Kannapolis, NC Famous for Cannon towels. Merged with Fieldcrest and later bought by Pillowtex Bankrupt July 2003. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannon_Mills_Company

1887 Springs Industries, Fort Mill, SC
Founded by Col. White. Since the merger with Cotiminas of Brazil in 2006, Springs Global. Large supplier of bedding and bath fashions.  www.springs.com

1891 American & Efird, Inc. Mount Holly, NC major supplier of thread world­wide.
Founded as Nims Manufacturing Co. http://www.amefird.com/

1895 Harriet & Henderson, Henderson, NC was founded to manufacture and sell cotton socks, finished goods, clothes, prints and warps. It began operation as a weave mill in 1896 with 204 looms and supporting equipment. By 1913, the company had added three more mills. In 1940, reports said that Harriet & Henderson was the world’s largest producer of hosiery yarns. Company went bankrupt in 2003.

1896 Spray Cotton Mills, Eden, NC No longer in business.  http://www.spraycotton.com/default.aspx

1899 Thomaston Mills, Thomaston, GA. Manufacturer of textile products for the hospitality and health care industries.  http://www.thomastonmills.com/history.html

1899 Trio Manufacturing, Forsyth, GA Manufacturer of cotton yarn and twine.
http://www.trioyarn.com/1.html

 

Sources:

  1. John W. McCurry, Melissa Stampley and Walter N. Rozelle, Textile World, December 1999, 64.
  2. John W. McCurry, Spinners, Niche Mills also among Historic Firms, Textile World, 150, February 2000 p20­21
  3. Personal communication, Marc Bieler 2010.