Springs Industries Part II



These ads “A buck well spent on a Springmaid sheet” and “Be Protected”  are typical of the ones that Elliott generated that caused a stir in the Ad business in the 1950’s. Read an extensive discussion in WarBird (7)

A buck well spent on a Springmaid Sheet

“This buck may look more like 47 cents- which is what most bucks are worth these days.  But not this “dearslayer.”  Any buck spent on a SPRINGMAID sheet gets you value of 100 cents on the dollar- as any two smart squaws know…” Opening text from the above ad.


  • 1959: Upon the death of his father-in-law Elliott Springs, H.W. Close (1919-1983) becomes president of The Springs Cotton Mills and Springs
    Mills, Inc. He builds a new generation of plants, broadens the product line, takes the company public, and tells the American textile story to a wide variety of audiences.    
  • 1962: Springs Mills, Inc. completes a 21-story office building in midtown New York – the new location enables Springs to better attract buyers from department stores.
  • 1966: Springs becomes a publicly traded company. The company has 19 plants, 18,000 employees and textile sales of $250 million.
  • 1969: Springs enters the knit fabric market and completes a 10-year modernization program of equipment and expansions costing over $230 million.

Springs installs 53 new air-jet looms at the Elliott plant. These looms run faster, quieter and more efficiently than any previous looms, producing virtually perfect cloth.

  • 1980: Walter Y. Elisha joins Springs Mills as its sixth president. In 1981, he becomes CEO.
  • 1982: The company is renamed Springs Industries
  • 1985: W. Paul Tippett is appointed Springs’ seventh president.
  • 1985: Springs Industries acquires Lowenstein Corporation – the purchase helps to make Springs one of the largest companies in the U.S. textile industry.
  • 1989 The Eureka Plant in Chester, SC is converted from apparel to home furnishings.  A new plant in Fort Lawn is built to produce comforters and related bedding products.  Textile World, March 1989 p10  
  • 1989 Springs builds the first phase of a finishing plant for industrial fabrics in Abbeville County, SC Textile World, Nov 1989, p10.
  • 1990  Closes Orr Plant.  First financial loss in 25 years of operation.
  • 1995 Acquires Dundee Mills, Dawson Home Fashions and Nanik window coverings.  Companyreorganized into three groups:  Bed Fashions; Bath Fashions; and Diversified Products.
  • 1996 Expands operations at Grace begins closing plants: Kershaw, Olympia, Granby, Wamsutta 1 and converts five others to warehouses.
  • 1998 Crandall Close Bowles, daughter of H. W. Close, is elected President and CEO. Fifth generation of the Springs family to lead the company.
  • 1998  Sells Rock Hill Printing & Finishing; Sells Ultrasuede business to Toray of Japan.  Spends to expand towel business at Dundee plants.
  • 2001: Close family announces a partnership with Heartland Industrial Partners to take Springs private. Cartersville, GA, rug yarn plant purchased from Maybank Textiles. Strategic long-term alliance is formed with Coteminas, a Brazilian manufacturer of bed and bath products.
  • 2002: Springs completes three acquisitions: Beaulieu’s accent rug business, which included assets and manufacturing operations in Dalton, Ga., and Stratford, Ontario; Burlington Industries window treatments and bedding consumer products businesses; and Ultima Enterprises to expand sourcing capabilities in Asia.
  • 2003: Springs purchases Owen Manufacturing blanket business. The company receives the 2003 Innovation Award from Textile World magazine.
  • 2006: Home textile operations of Springs and Coteminas merge in a joint venture to create Springs Globalthe world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of home furnishings. Crandall Bowles and José Gomes da Silva (CEO of Coteminas) jointly lead Springs Global and serve as Co-Chairs of the board of directors. http://www.springs.com/corporateinfo/about_springs/hist_begin.asp January 5, 2008
  • 2007 Crandall Bowles retires from Springs Global.  The last S.C. factories closed in June 2007 -all sheets and towels now made in Brazil.  (8)
  • 2010 Grace, built in 1946-47 as the key to Elliott Springs’ move to finished fabrics and consumer goods is now a 2 million s.f. shell, with most of the dyeing and finishing ranges and print machines now in Brazil; the Lancaster Cotton Mill, once the world’s largest with 8,000 X-2 and X-3 looms and its twin towers, is demolished (Leroy Springs is still buried under there, where his son Elliott built over him!);  the Executive Office Building in Fort Mill was modernized in late 90s but still same exterior from this newly-built view (probably 1951-2)–home to less than 100 people now; Chester was and is pretty slow -actually, the name was “Springsteen” which was the Springs family’s original Dutch name.  That building is long defunct, has passed through several hands and is now being demolished by the county. (9)


One man’s opinion of synthetics

In a humorous vein, Elliott Springs told a customer in 1953 what he thought of man-made fibers. In some respects, his views are not so far fetched!


Dear ——

I have your letter of July 30th asking about our experience with synthetic sheets. At present we are experimenting with a nylon filament sheet and a blend of cotton and nylon for sheets. So far, we have not been able to make one, which we thought was as good as a cotton sheet. The suppliers of the fibre don’t know whether it will increase the life of the sheet or not but they are certain it will improve the abrasive quality. That means if you toss and turn in your sleep, your skin would wear rather than the sheet. We have found that, if a lady wears a rayon nightgown and slides into bed between nylon sheets, she will light up like the aurora borealis from the static and, if she wears a nylon nightgown and is taken ill, the doctor won’t have to pull down the top sheet to examine her appendix.

However, all the newspapers and magazines have been screaming at the public for the past twenty years that new man-made miracle fibres will revolutionize the textile industry during the next year and, consequently, the buying public will always fall for any new fibre, though it is made out of corncobs, pecan shells, and lame duck feathers.

I have thrown away at least a hundred shirts that were made out of blends of nylon, Dacron, Orlon, rayon, Dynel, Chromspun, Acrilan, Saran, Vicara, vicuna, Vigoro and Trillium. However, this morning I see where another manufacturer is announcing a new one made of coal, sawdust and peach fuzz and I am sure he will sell a lot of them before the public wearies of novelty and makes me run overtime to supply enough plain cotton broadcloth. Just to keep up with the procession, we now have available a chlorophyll sheet, an anti-septic sheet, a perfume sheet, a non-skid sheet and an anti-static sheet. I have no doubt we will soon be selling a sheet made from a blend of buttermilk, linseed oil, peanut oil, oil of juniper and nightmare hairs. Until that time, we can prove that the combed percale sheet is the best buy in the world. (1)


Yours very truly………… Elliott Springs (1)



  1. Louise Pettus. 1987. The Springs Story, Springs Industries, Fort Mill, SC 256 pages
  2. Joan Kiplinger, http://www.fabrics.net/joan204.asp The Indian Head Connection. Accessed August 26, 2010.
  3. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Springs-Industries-Inc-Company-History.html   Accessed August 27, 2010.
  4. “A Buck Well Spent” Number 69 of Top 100 Advertising Campaigns http://adage.com/century/campaigns.html
  5. http://www.snopes.com/business/market/springmaid.asp accessed January 5, 2008
  6. http://www.answers.com/topic/springs-industries-inc?cat=biz-fin Feb 5, 2008
  7. Burke Davis. 1987. War Bird. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC. 267 pages.
  8. Stella M. Hopkins. Aug 1, 2007, “Springs lives on in a changing world,” Charlotte Observer.
  9. Bob Thompson, Personal communication, August 2010
  10. Elliott White Springs. 1949. Clothes Make The Man, J.J. Little & Ives Co., New York 446 pages