Charles F. Goldthwait

19th Olney Medalist
North Carolina State University

Charles F. Goldthwait
19th Olney Medalist 1962
Born April 23, 1886 – Died 1968

Years of Service NC State College of Textiles:
Visiting Professor of Textile Research 1956 – 1962; Full Member 1962 – 1968.


Charles F. Goldthwait was born in Cummington, Mass. on April 23, 1886. He received a B.S. Chemistry in 1909 from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass., following which he joined S. Slater & Sons, Inc., Webster, Mass., one of the largest textile companies in the state. He was the only chemist in the entire company and was not always welcomed by the established workers. He was fortunate to be in the good graces of the superintendent R.M. Mitchell. He also began a personal relationship with Professor Olney. Along about 1912, he worked with C. Protto on the installation of an indanthrene vat dye line for printing shirting. Later, Protto was involved with DuPont dyes. H.P. Cady, then a Badische dyestuff representative, made very useful suggestions and later became a Men of Mark, honored by AATCC. From 1916­ 1925, he was with Klearflax Linen Loom, Inc., Duluth, Minn., followed by Baltimore Processing Company, Watertown, N.Y. During this time, he was introduced to artificial silk long before it was known as “rayon”, and then often called “wood silk”. He also translated from the German and published information about the manufacture of hydrosulfite products. He toured flax and linen districts in Europe in 1922. He was written about in the Men of Mark in the Dyestuff Field series by Professor Olney.

For the next 15 years, he was with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in Pittsburgh where he performed research mainly on mercerizing, bleaching, dyeing, chemical modification, and other treatments of mercerized yarn. Much of this was sponsored by Aberfoyle Manufacturing Company. He studied X­ray diffraction diagrams of modified fibers, made by Wayne Sisson in George L. Clark’s laboratory at the University of Illinois. In 1937 he began work on partial chemical derivatives of cotton. He made dye­resistant yarns. From 1941 until his retirement in 1956, he was with the Southern Regional Research Laboratory planning, organizing and conducting highly­specialized research on the improvement by chemical treatment of cotton fiber, yarn, and finishes. (1) He worked with Walter M. Scott who later became director of the lab. Mandatory retirement age caught up with Goldthwait at age 70 but he still had that research mentality and curiosity.

Largely through the efforts of William A. Newell, then coordinator of research, the medalist went to the School of Textiles at NC State in 1956. He retired officially from State in 1961, but thanks to Dean Malcolm Campbell and Professor Henry A. Rutherford, head of chemistry and dyeing, he was given laboratory and office space to continue his research. He developed a differential dyeing technique to distinguish immature cotton (green) from mature cotton (red). He worked with Rosa Kirby as his technician for years. Rutherford chided the faculty that this old timer published more each year that all the rest of the department.(2, 4)

Goldthwait, Elvan Hutchison discuss stretch fabric with a student
Courtesy Textile Forum

Goldthwait, Rosa Kirby and Hank Rutherford at a calendar NC State

Images Courtesy American Dyestuff Reporter

He was awarded the prestigious AATCC Olney Medal in 1962. (1)  He was married and had two grown sons, Richard G. and John T.

Honors and Memberships:

Charter member of AATCC, he just missed being a Charter member of the Textile Research Council, forerunner of the Textile Research Institute, member of the American Chemical Society, Textile Institute, Society of Dyers and Colourists.

USDA Superior Service Award 1949

Selected Patents:

  1. US Patent 1,901,095, Modified Cotton,filed Jun 4, 1931, issued Mar 14,1933
  2. US Patent 2,352,707 Cotton Yarn for water­Pressure Hose, filed January 7, 1943, issued July 4, 1944.
  3. U.S. Patent 2,379,574, Method of Producing Surgical Bandages with Improved Elastic Properties, filed November 5, 1943, issued July 3, 1945.
  4. US patent 2,404,837, Method of Making Cotton Fabrics with Differential Elastic Properties, filed Nov. 5, 1943, issued July 30, 1946.

Selected Publications:

  1. Goldthwait, C.F., American Dyestuff Reporter, 27, p70­6, (1938).
  2. Goldthwait, C. F.,”Reaction of Formaldehyde with Cotton,” Textile Research Journal, 21, 55­ – 62 (1951).
  3. Goldthwait, C.F., Buras, Jr., E.M., and Cooper, A.S., ibid., 21, 831­ – 840,(1951).
  4. Goldthwait, C.F., Smith, H.O., and Barnett, Textile World, 97, No. 7, 105 (1947)
  5. Goldthwait, Charles F., and Sloan, William G., “Features of Cellulose Fiber Structure Shown by Differential Dyeing,” American Dyestuff Reporter, 1956, page 813.
  6. Goldthwait, C.F., Kirby, Rosa D., Fretwell, S., and Wiehart, H., Textile Research Journal, 29, 134­ – 43 (1959).
  7. Goldthwait, Charles F., “Observations on Swelling and Structure of Cotton Fibers,” American Dyestuff Reporter, November 26,1962, p928­ – 944



  1. “Goldthwait to Receive ’62 Olney Medal,” American Dyestuff Reporter, September 3, 1962, p663.
  2. “Charles F. Goldthwait – 19th Olney Medalist,” American Dyestuff Reporter, October 29, 1962. P848­ – 851
  3. Goldthwait, Charles F., “The Olney Medal Address,” American Dyestuff Reporter, P928 (1962).
  4. Personal contact, Charles D. Livengood, February 2012.