Mojud Hosiery Co, Inc

Mojud Hosiery Co., Inc.
Greensboro, NC and New York

 

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Letterhead used in 1932 showing plant locations: top, Decatur, AL; right, Long Island City, NY; bottom, Greensboro, NC; left, Philadelphia, PA.  Courtesy of George Voehringer

 

Mock, Judson and Voehringer Hosiery Company

Mojud began as a brand in 1919, with a company, Mock & Judson, Inc., founded by Bernard L. Mock and Nathaniel Judson.  It later became Mock, Judson & Voehringer, Company, Inc. (24)   Mock was a salesman for Ellis Hosiery Mills of Philadelphia; Judson was a traveling salesman for Voss and Stern of New York; and Voehringer was  the technical man formerly employed by Henry Lehmuth Co., Philadelphia.(32)  It is not known how these men got together and started the business.  We do know that several were acquainted through work in Philadelphia.

In 1926 Bernard Mock, Nathaniel Judson and John K. Voehringer, Jr., formed the Mock, Judson, Voehringer Company of North Carolina, Inc., with A. Ernest Margerison of Philadelphia as major stockholder.(30)  The company was formed for the production of ladies silk hosiery, something the three men already produced at mills in Long Island City, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Their reasons for locating in Greensboro are not known; however they followed a long trail of northern industrial investment in the south and particularly, that of the Cones who founded Cone Mills.  An article published in 1925 by The Economic Review cited the many benefits of North Carolina including plentiful labor and inexpensive living expenses. (4) By the late 1920s, the three principals were relative late-comers.  The MJV of NC started modestly in 1927 with a 10, 000 square foot building of re-enforced concrete on a site at 1004 Howard Street (now 2610 Oakland Avenue) in southwest Greensboro.  The mill employed fourteen workers at first, including the company president and on-site manager, John K. Voehringer, Jr.  The mill was expanded in 1928 and by 1929, was producing over four million pairs of silk stockings annually while employment increased to 600 workers (Greensboro Daily News, Jan. 30, 1930 recorded in (1)).  The mill was expanded again in 1930, 1936, and 1938, until the complex reached 140, 000 square feet.

Mock, Judson, Voehringer Company, Inc. was formed in 1928 to acquire all the assets and business of Mock & Judson, Inc., the Mojud Hosiery Dyeworks, Inc., Mock, Judson, Voehringer Company of North Carolina, Inc. and the capital stock of Northwood Hosiery Company of Philadelphia.  Nathaniel Judson was named chairman of the board, and John K. Voehringer, Jr., president. (25)  In 1931, Mock moved to Beverly Hills, CA to set up the Los Angeles sales office. (24)

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An early ad from 1929 showing the sheer hosiery.  Courtesy 1929 New York Performing Arts archive

 

 

 

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Mojud factory Greensboro, NC.  Courtesy NCSU Agromeck Yearbook 1944

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1935, the Alabama Hosiery Mills, Inc., of Decatur, AL, founded in 1929 and expanded in 1930, was purchased by Mock and Judson. (23; GV, Private Communication 2010) In 1940, Alabama employed 450 people running 72 knitting, 28 loopers and 41 seam machines.  No mention is made of finishing equipment. Business thrived in 1937 and a pay raise was announced (26); sales were the largest in company history, prompting the company to try a new advertising and sales promotion campaign. (27) A 25 per cent increase in the advertising budget was announced at a sales meeting at the Hotel Commodore, New York. Color pages in national magazines would be used for the first time.   Mr. Judson declared, “This is the time for progressive manufacturers to be aggressive and not to permit any recession psychology to influence their plans.”(28)

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1941 Glamour Legs
Ads Courtesy TJS-Labs and George Voehringer
1951 Ginger Rogers danced 27 miles in her “Magic-Motion” sheer stockings

In 1938, Nickels & Lauber was sold to MJV Co. and operated as the N& L division.   Even earlier, in 1917, Nickels & Lauber was organized in Philadelphia to manufacture high-grade men’s full-fashioned socks.  The trade name for these socks was “Esquire,” adopted in 1922.  By 1940, this plant was out of operation, supplanted by other facilities.  No doubt the labor unrest in the city of Philadelphia helped this decision.  On January 8, 1938, 5,000 hosiery workers crowded the Metropolitan Opera House and rejected a request to voluntarily curtail their wages to keep industry from moving out of the city (5); in the meanwhile, MJV expanded elsewhere.  Siler City Hosiery Co., Inc., Siler City, NC, founded in 1937, was running 15 Full-Fashion hosiery machines, 13 loopers and 13 seam machines under the supervision of D.J. Sickeroff.  John K. Voehringer, Jr. was president, Richard C. Remmey was Vice President of these various locations. Greensboro ran 150 Full fashion knitting machines, 60 sewing machines, 30 winders, 48 doublers & twisters with 1,300 employees.  Alabama employed 450 people.  Long Island City (Astoria) employed 450 dyeing and finishing hosiery using 14 dye machines. Los Angeles and San Francisco sales offices operated in addition to the New York office. (21)  In 1937, Earl Margerison was issued USP 2073560, an attachment for hosiery knitting machines, and assigned to Northwood Hosiery Co., Philadelphia.

In 1944, the name of the company was changed to Mojud, with Nathaniel Judson as chairman of the board.  In 1946, the N & L division was sold to Chester H. Roth, Inc.  Underwear (lingerie) was added to the operation in 1947.  Rayon and nylon lingerie and pajamas were manufactured in Wilmington (30).   In 1950, mills were located in Greensboro and Wilmington, NC; Decatur, AL; and Long Island City, NY.

In 1947, a lawsuit was initiated by MJV, owners of the “Esquire” trade-mark for hosiery, scarves, neckties, and mufflers since 1923 against Esquire, Inc., a publisher who registered the name in 1934 for a monthly magazine.  As Esquire, the magazine, expanded its base, there was concern of trade-mark infringement. Both parties settled amicably in 1951. (3)  Bernard L. Mock died in 1948 at age 62, the first of the three founders to pass on. (24,31)  Voehringer died in 1967.  Judson lived until 1980.(34) Remmey died in 1977.

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Ad 1951

 

 

 

 

 

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John K. Voehringer, Jr. 1955 on a trip to Germany
1897-1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“New Hue New You” Ad 1948
Courtesy George Voehringer

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Magic Motion” nylon hosiery 1953
Courtesy Adclassix.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

A survey of Hosiery Industry Weekly, a trade newsletter published in New York, tells an interesting tale for 1954. The dominance of DuPont as the sole supplier of nylon was eroding.  Chemstrand announced the first shipments from their 50 million pound per year plant in Pensacola, FL.  Mojud opened an office and warehouse in Dallas.  Albert Shinkman, formerly manager of the Los Angeles office (presumably after the death of Bernard Mock), was named the manager in Dallas.  Labor troubles in Philadelphia were flaring up. The American Federation of Hosiery Workers (AFL) announced they wanted to organize the workers because wage reductions were announced in mid-January for 40% of all workers.    Why would Mojud want to antagonize the workers?  Finally in March, 1954, Mojud announced their regular 30 cents per share dividend but later in the month announced sales declined 4.6% in 1953.  Profit was off 13.6%!  The knitters in Greensboro asked to have a separate union representation.  On May 10, Mojud announced a further reduction in net sales.  A recession of major proportions was underway.  Companies began to go out of business and others merged.   DuPont announced a layoff of 5%.  Another factor was the change in market from Full Fashion to seamless hosiery.  Stretch yarn was being developed.  The entire industry was in turmoil.

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Hosiery Box
Courtesy Jennifer Johnson

 

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Hand display used to show sheerness of  hosiery
Courtesy Anne Moss

 

In 1955, Nathaniel Judson resigned as chairman and sold his controlling block of stock in Mojud to Bernard S. Needle and Herbert Blumberg.  A long internal struggle ensued led by his son David Judson, who felt the sale was for far less than the company was worth. Annual sales at the time were $16 million, with a stock price of $16 on the New York Stock Exchange. Finally, the sale was abandoned and parts of the company were sold.(8)  Voehringer retired in 1955 and Richard C. Remmey became president of the Greensboro operations.  Jerome T. Collins became vice president. Under Voehringer’s leadership, Mojud was the first to install picot top and heel attachments, the first in the south to knit chiffon hosiery, and among the first to use the method of knitting by which the entire hose was knit from top to toe in one continuous interlocking stitch.  Full-fashioned hosiery remained the chief product of the corporation.  Production swelled from 4,108,092 pairs in 1929 to 19,200,000 by 1955. (30)  In early 1956, Chester H. Roth bought the hosiery division and in March, Lester Martin & Co. purchased the lingerie business.  Martin was elected chairman and president in April.  In June 1956, Chester H. Roth Co. Inc. agreed to lease the Mojud Greensboro facility and continue production. (9-15)

In 1960, Philip Goldsmith was named president of Mojud Co.  The stockholders of the Mojud Company, Inc. approved the sale of assets to Kayser-Roth Corporation on January 6, 1961.  The sale price was $6,655,000. In February 1961, Mojud Co. was delisted by the New York Stock Exchange, after sale of all remaining assets to Kayser-Roth Corp. (16-18) Chester H. Roth Co. set up a separate organization to sell Mojud hosiery.  Sixty men, many from Mojud, were hired effective January 1, 1957. (29)

The empty Greensboro facility is currently (2010) under consideration for registration under the National Register of Historic Places. (1)

Note:  This web page would not have been possible without the great assistance of George Voehringer, nephew of John K. Voehringer, Jr., a founder and principal in the company, and Greg Tourino in the NCSU Textile Library.

 

Sources:

  1. Application form, National Register of Historic Places, Section number 8, page 6, 2010.
  2. “Pioneers roll-call”, Hosiery and Underwear Review, July 1950, page 174.
  3. http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/186/186.F2d.11.28.21650_1.html
  4. C. R. Fay, “North Carolina and the New Industrial Revolution,” The Economic Journal, Vol. 35 Issue 138 (June 1925), 200-213. www.jstor.org
  5. “Hosiery Workers Reject Wage Cut,” NY Times, January 9, 1938.
  6. “Control of Mojud Sold,” NY Times, September 7, 1955.
  7. “Mojud Planning to Sell Business,” NY Times, October 22, 1955.
  8. “Mojud Calls Off Sale of Assets,” NY Times, November 5, 1955.
  9. “Mojud Fight in Court,” NY Times, November 23, 1955
  10. “Mojud Sues Officer for ‘Fraud’ Charge,” NY Times, November 30, 1955.
  11. “Trial Set in Mojud Suit,” NY Times, December 2, 1955
  12. “Martin & Co. Buys Control in Mojud,” NY Times, March, 1956?
  13. “Other Sales, Mergers-Mojud Company,” NY Times, April 4, 1956.
  14. “Martin Heads Mojud,” NY Times, April 21, 1956.
  15. “Mojud, Roth Plan Deal,” NY Times, June 9, 1956.
  16. Unnamed Article, Time Magazine, May 9, 1960.
  17. “Mojud Assets Sale Backed by Holders,” NY Times, January 7, 1961.
  18. Security and Exchange Commission News Digest, February 23, 1961, page 3.
  19. “Nat J. Newman,” www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=40824052.
  20. “Nancy Dolgin Wed to Bruce D. Judson, NY Times, March 7, 1988.
  21. Davison’s Textile Blue Book, 1927, 1940, 1951, 1952, New York.
  22. http://preservationgreensboro.typepad.com/weblog/greensboro_preservation_news/
  23. The Decatur Daily, Apr 10, 2005, and George Voehringer, Personal communication, 2010.
  24. “B. L. Mock, Official of Hosiery Firm, 62,” NY Times, July 3, 1948.
  25. “Industrial Merger Arranged,” NY Times, Oct 26, 1928.
  26. “Industrial Plants Grant Pay Raises,” NY Times, Mar 23, 1937.
  27. “Mojud Plans Biggest Drive,” NY Times, Jan 7, 1938.
  28. “Mojud Budget Up 25%,” NY Times, Jan 8, 1938.
  29. “Chester H. Roth Sets Up Separate Organization for Mojud Hosiery,” Hosiery & Underwear Review,    Dec 1956, p42.
  30. Arnett, Ethel Stephens. 1955. Greensboro North Carolina, the County Seat of Guilford. Chapel Hill. The UNC Press.
  31. “Hosiery Firm Founder Dies, Los Angeles Times, Jul 3, 1948
  32. World War I Draft records for Mock, Judson and Voehringer.
  33. “Other Stock Issues,” NY Times, Oct. 30, 1928.
  34. Nathaniel Judson obit., NY Times, June 2, 1980.
  35. Hosiery Industry Weekly, Howes Publishing, New York, 1954.