(September 21, 2009) — Three companies have been inducted into the American Textile Hall of Fame, recognizing their significant contributions to and support of the textile industry. Honorees in the Class of 2009 are Cotton Incorporated, Cranston Print Works, and W.L. Gore & Associates.
The American Textile Hall of Fame was initiated in 2001 by the American Textile History Museum in Lowell to honor individuals, corporations and institutions that have made significant contributions to the textile industry in America, as well as those who have advanced the place, role, and appreciation of textiles in American life. This year’s recipients were honored September 21 at a luncheon at the Museum.
“Each of these honorees has had a profound impact on the textile industry in unique ways,” said ATHM President & CEO Jim Coleman. “They are worthy of great recognition for contributions they made to shape the history of textiles, as well as their philanthropic assistance for a better world. We are honored to pay tribute to their achievements.”
The following are the inductees into the American Textile Hall of Fame Class of 2009:
Cotton Incorporated was created in 1970 with the objective of encouraging cotton textile innovations while building consumer demand through advertising and promotion. By 1983 the company had succeeded in curtailing the decline in demand resulting from the success of synthetic fibers, and by 1987 cotton had regained a dominant position in the textile industry.
As President and CEO of Cotton Incorporated, the company representing the United States upland cotton producers and importers, J. Berrye Worsham oversees global research and marketing programs. Headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, the company maintains additional offices within the United States, Mexico and Asia. Cotton Incorporated provides technical services designed to assist textile mills and manufacturers in their efforts to deliver the best cotton products possible, and provides data and analysis on supply/demand, fiber quality, consumer and product trends essential to maintaining cotton’s leading position in the world of fashion.
Cotton Incorporated is dedicated to ensuring that cotton remains “top of mind” with the consumer and that it will continue to be a dominant fiber in the world in the 21st century and beyond.
Dr. A. Blanton Godrey, Professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles, presented the Hall of Fame plaque to J. Berrye Worsham.
“We shape our futures by studying our past, which is why institutions like the American Textile History Museum are so important,” Mr. Worsham said in accepting the honor. “You all are the trustees of our history, the chroniclers of our collective knowledge, which you present in three dimensions to educate and inspire.”
Cranston Print Works
Founded in 1807, Cranston Print Works is the oldest surviving textile company in the United States. Cranston began printing in 1824 next door to the home of its original owners, the Sprague family. The company maintains its corporate headquarters at its original site in Cranston, Rhode Island. The company has undergone three ownerships changes: reorganization by the Knight Brothers in the late 1800s, purchase by the Rockefeller family in 1920, and buy-out by the Company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 1987.
The company has continued to be successful through economic, technological and fashion-driven printing cycles by concentrating on men’s shirting in the early 1900s, helping to supply American armed forces during World War II, and more recently by becoming the largest supplier of printed fabrics for the American quilter and crafter.
In addition to their textile successes, the people of Cranston have achieved many notable successes outside of their employment. These include a Congressional Medal of Honor, an Olympic gold medal, recognition in the Baseball Hall of Fame, five United States senators and several Rhode Island governors.
Karl H. Spilhaus, President of the National Textile Association, presented the award to George W. Shuster, Chairman and CEO of Cranston Print Works, who accepted the honor by quoting a visitor to the company’s plant in 1869: “You go away from the mills with a feeling that the country that processes such elements of industry and enterprise has a strength and greatness that bids defiance to political mutations.”
Mr. Shuster said, “This quote truly captures the dignity and the self-worth of the workers in this great textile industry.”
W.L. Gore & Associates
W. L. Gore & Associates is a manufacturing company specializing in products derived from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a fluoropolymer with many unique properties. Gore is a privately held corporation headquartered in Newark, Delaware with operations around the globe. Although best known as the developer of waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® fabrics, Gore’s products are also widely used in a variety of industrial and consumer products, such as electronic signal transmission, diverse industrial uses and many medical applications.
The company was founded in 1958 by Bill and Vieve Gore. Their son Bob joined the company in 1963, and in 1969, while researching a process for stretching extruded PTFE into pipe thread tape, discovered that the polymer could be “expanded” into a porous structure. Today, expanded PTFE (ePTFE) accounts for the vast majority of the company’s products.
Bill and Bob Gore have received numerous awards for their significant achievements. In 2009, for the twelfth consecutive year, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. earned a position on FORTUNE Magazines list of the U.S. “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
ATHM President and CEO Jim Coleman presented the award to Wayne Von Stetten, long-time Gore associate and global sales leader in the fabrics division.
“Our company just turned 51 years old, and to achieve this distinction among the giants of industry before us is such a great honor,” Mr. Von Stetten said. “Our company truly has taken textiles to a new level, but we are a success not because of the technology, but because of the people. That’s what we invest in.”
Previous American Textile Hall of Fame inductees included: (Class of 2001) Roger Milliken, Duke Power, and Samuel Slater; (Class of 2002) Frederick Dent, Whitin Machine Works, Dupont, and J. Spencer Love; (Class of 2003) Draper Corporation, Dalton McMichael, The Men and Women of the American Textile Industry; (Class of 2004) American Viscose Corporation, W. Duke Kimbrell, Jack Lenor Larson, National Cotton Council; (Class of 2005) Robert C. Jackson, Saco-Lowell Shops, Scalamandré; and (Class of 2008) Levi Strauss & Co., the late Gordon Osborne, the late James C. Self, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and Edward B. Stevens.
The 2009 American Textile Hall of Fame Committee was comprised of James M. Fitzgibbons, Chairman, Retired Chairman, Fieldcrest Cannon Inc., Kannapolis, NC; James S. Coleman, President and CEO, American Textile History Museum; Dr. A. Blanton Godfrey, Dean and Joseph D. Moore Distinguished University Professor, North Carolina State University College of Textiles; J. Craig Huff, Jr., Chairman Emeritus, Hayes Pump, Inc. Concord, MA; W. Duke Kimbrell, Chairman, Parkdale Mills, Inc., Gastonia, NC; Karl H. Spilhaus, President, National Textile Association, Boston, MA; Arthur M. Spiro, President and Treasurer, AMS Tex Enterprises, In., Great Neck, NY; and Edward B. Stevens, Chairman, Ames Textile Corp., Lowell, MA.