Entries in Textiles

Cone, Moses Herman
A second-generation German-American, Moses Cone began his career as a travelling salesman, or “drummer,” for his father’s Baltimore dry goods business. His customers included Southern mill owners who taught him much about the textile industry. Moses Cone eventually used this knowledge to break into the industry himself, first by securing ownerships stakes in various Southern mills, then by founding Cone Export & Commission Co., and finally by building his own mills in Greensboro, North Carolina. By 1908, the year of his death, Moses Cone and his brother Ceasar led the world in denim production. Continue Reading »
Karpen, Solomon
Solomon Karpen founded S. Karpen & Bros. in Chicago in 1880. By 1899, it had become the largest upholstered furniture manufacturing company in the world. Continue Reading »
Knoll, Hans
Together with his wife Florence, a prominent interior designer, German-born immigrant Hans Knoll played a significant role in introducing modernist design into the market for high-end residential and office furniture through his firm Knoll Associates. Continue Reading »
Oberlaender, Gustav
Gustav Oberlaender, a Rhinelander who spent his adult life in the United States, became a dominant figure in the full-fashioned hosiery industry. He and his partners, fellow immigrants Ferdinand Thun and Henry Janssen, used skills acquired in Germany to establish textile machinery and hosiery firms in the United States, undercutting their birth country’s exporters. Continue Reading »
Singer, Isaac Merritt
The son of a German immigrant, Isaac Merritt Singer was the man behind one of the sewing machine patents that succeeded within an extremely competitive market in the mid-1850s. Since the eighteenth century, inventors had designed sewing machines to serve the needs of tailors and for various industrial purposes. However, inventors had struggled to develop a machine appropriate for domestic use. Singer contributed to the sewing machine trade with important technological advancements and also with the development of a marketing system capable of selling sewing machines around the world. Continue Reading »
Thieme, Theodore Frederick
Theodore Frederick Thieme was the second of ten children born to immigrants Frederick John and Clara Thieme of Saxony. During a visit to the Saxon city of Chemnitz, which was known for its thriving textile industry, Thieme decided to begin manufacturing full-fashioned hosiery in the United States. Upon his return, he founded the Wayne Knitting Mills in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In time, Wayne Knitting Mills became one of America’s largest producers of men’s, women’s, and children’s full-fashioned hosiery. Continue Reading »