Galey & Lord – Origins

Galey & Lord – Origins

Charles Edwin Lord June 16, 1865 – December 9, 1942 (9)
William T. Galey – Died September 1,1910


Charles Edwin Lord was born in Fordham, NY, June 16, 1865 to Charles Asaph and Julia (Bates) Lord. Charles Asaph Lord was a textile man who lived in Philadelphia and became interested in manufacturing finer fabrics, especially ginghams. Charles Asaph Lord and John C. Watt established the Economic Textile Company in Philadelphia and produced fine fabrics. Charles Asaph and Julia had three more children in New York City, namely Mabel, Edith and Cameron. They moved to Rocky Hill, NJ where Kenneth, his youngest son was born.

The oldest son of Charles Asaph Lord, Charles Edwin Lord, started in the business world as a clerk for the dry goods firm of HP & WP Smith in Philadelphia at age 14. Three years later (1882) in conjunction with William T. Galey, he established the Aberfoyle Mills, Camden, NJ to manufacture cotton goods. (2) Their business grew so rapidly and the production increased to such an extent the firm incorporated into the Aberfoyle Manufacturing Company and built a large plant in Chester, PA in 1889. In the fall of 1891, his youngest brother, Kenneth Lord, joined them. The business of these mills grew very rapidly and they were enlarged from time to time. Galey was president, Charles Lord, Secretary and then Treasurer until 1910. They made a specialty of making only the best qualities in everything they produced and were the originators of many of the finest woven cotton goods in the country, their motto being “We aim to excel.” They were also one of the first mills to put in a mercerizing plant and among the first mills to use artificial silk in weaving (1910). (3, 4, 5) Later they became the largest producer of mercerized yarns in the world. They were also one of the first firms to combine silk and cotton in women’s wear materials. (In order to take care of their business in the lower grades, which they gradually abandoned, as they made better goods, Mr. W.T. Galey, Charles E. Lord and Kenneth Lord founded in 1897 the partnership of Galey & Lord in New York City and handled not only the product of Aberfoyle Mills, but other textile plants. )

William T. Galey died September 1, 1910 in Overbrook, PA age 59. (11) Charles Edwin Lord became president. The firm of Galey & Lord was changed from a partnership to a corporation December 27, 1921.

Charles Edwin Lord was a pioneer and originator in manufacturing and merchandising fine textiles. He was a man of great vision and foresight and his policies had much to do with the success of the business. His high principles and uprightness of character were well known in the industry. During World War I he devoted a considerable time to studying the taxation and his article “Taxing a Soap Bubble” which appeared in 1920 was widely read. He favored the implementation of a sales tax and testified before Congress to that effort. (4) Shortly before Lord’s death in 1942, Aberfoyle, Inc. of Norfolk, VA, a subsidiary of Aberfoyle Manufacturing Co., also pioneered in the weaving of a new synthetic fiber nylon into parachute fabric for the US army air forces. It was also the first rayon mill (Sept. 30, 1942) to be awarded the Army­Navy “E” for excellence in the production of essential war material. (3)

Charles Edwin Lord married Sarah Garrison Weart of Philadelphia on June 30, 1886. Their first child, Charles Asaph died in infancy. Their second child, Mary T. Lord was born October 24, 1889. Sarah Weart Lord died June 3, 1896. Charles Edwin Lord married a second time on September 15, 1897 to Lucy Taylor Weart, a cousin of his first wife, and had eight children – Edwin, Janet T, William G., Oswald B., Arthur S., John C., Lucie W., and Julia B. Charles Edwin Lord moved to Tarrytown, NY in 1900. He died December 9, 1942. (9) William Galey Lord graduated from Yale in 1922 and joined Galey & Lord. When Burlington Industries bought the business in 1947, Mr. Lord remained as president and served in that capacity until 1966. He also was elected vice president of the parent company in 1952 and as a director in 1956. He retired as executive vice president and director in 1968. He was survived by his wife, the former Frances Norton, two sons, Sheridan, of Sagaponack, NY, and Charles, of Manhattan; his brother, Arthur of Pennington, NJ and two sisters, Janet Dale of Philadelphia and Lucie Keen of California. (10)

Kenneth Lord married on April 30, 1902 to Florence Ulmer of Philadelphia, who died February 23, 1911. He married for a second time, Maude Brennan Davies. He had no children by either marriage. He devoted his entire life to the textile business and originated many fine fabrics, including the first shirting cloth made of artificial silk. In the early days of artificial silk, the United States Government wanted the textile trade to establish a generic name for this fiber and at a meeting of the largest producers and users, Mr. Kenneth Lord suggested the name “Rayon” which was finally adopted and is used to this day. (5, 7) Kenneth Lord died in 1956. (6)

Mary Lord, the eldest daughter of Charles Edwin Lord (by his first marriage) married William T. Galey, Jr., who after graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, served an apprenticeship with Galey & Lord and then entered the Aberfoyle Manufacturing Co. at Chester, PA. He eventually became president. He had four children: Janet Galey; William T. Galey, III; Mary L. Galey; and Charles L. Galey. William T., III, the oldest son, graduated from Princeton and started with Aberfoyle Manufacturing Co. In 1943, he left and became a Lieutenant (j.g.) in the United States Navy and was sent to the South Pacific in September, 1943. Charles L. Galey, the youngest son, left Princeton to enter the United States Army Air Corps. Janet Lord married Edwin L. Dale. He started his business career with Aberfoyle and then went to work for Sauquoit Silk Mills.

William T. Galey, Jr., chairman of the board of Aberfoyle Manufacturing Company, Inc., died Sep 14, 1963 on a train in Montana on his way to visit his son Charles L. in Wyoming. He was 82 years of age and lived in suburban Gladwyne. He was president of Aberfoyle for thirteen years and retired in 1951. He was also a director of Galey & Lord, Inc., a division of Burlington Industries, Inc He graduated from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania in 1904. Surviving were another son, William T., 3rd; two daughters, Mrs. Tate M. Robertson, Jr. and Mrs. Albert S. Wilson, Jr. (8) William T. Galey, 3rd, graduated from Yale and began with Galey & Lord. He became an officer in the company. In 1942, he was elected president of the National Federation of Textiles, the trade association of the rayon­weaving industry and served three terms with the organization.

Oswald B. Lord graduated from Yale in 1926 and started with Galey & Lord. He became an officer in the company. He became Regional Director for sales for the states of New York, New Jersey and Delaware. Arthur S. Lord graduated from Yale in 1926 at the same time as his brother Oswald and joined Galey & Lord. The legal field called and he returned to Yale to study Law. After graduation he entered the law firm of Davis, Polk, Wardwell, Gardiner and Reed. Later her studied Economics at Yale and during World War II, he became secretary of the Export­Import Bank.

John C. Lord graduated from Yale in 1927. He served a short apprenticeship with Aberfoyle, became seriously ill and died in 1928 in Philadelphia.



  1. Lord, Kenneth, Certain members of the Lord family who settled in New York City in the early 1800’s, descendants of Thomas Lord of Hartford, Connecticut, Privately printed 1945.
  2. Davison’s Textile Blue Book, 1927 Aberfoyle, Chester, PA.
  3. Lord, Charles Edwin. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 31, page 422.
  4. Lord, Charles Edwin, Testified before Congress.
    1920. 22, +Charles+Edwin+Lord&source=bl&ots=6KAXsoiWUm&sig=wde33gutsItgNe_MAnfqAfny9cI&hl=en&sa=X&ei dQIIUNSOMoO88ASdl5TMBA&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Taxing%20a%20Soap%20Bubble% 22%2C%20Charles%20Edwin%20Lord&f=false
  5. Artificial silk, later called Rayon at the suggestion of Kenneth Galey, was commercially developed for the United States just around the corner from Chester, PA in Marcus Hook, PA by the American Viscose Co. on license from Courtaulds of the UK.
  6. Kenneth Lord, obituary, NY Times, Aug 25, 1956, page 15.
  8. William T. Galey Jr., Obituary, NY Times, Sep 15, 1963, Page 86.
  9. Charles Edwin Lord, Obituary, NY Times, Dec 11, 1942, page 23.
  10. William G. Lord, Obituary, NY Times, Jul 21, 1986, page A12.
  11. William T. Galey, Death, National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, Transactions, 1911, page 78.