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Textile News

A Traumatic Decade While Carpet Knits Machinery Boom

By Yancey S. Gilkerson

A Traumatic Decade While Carpet, Knits Machinery BoomThe Sixties saw the Bay of Pigs, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of a U.S. President, the political death of his successor, increasing U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the fall of Krushchev, the USSR triumph of putting the first man into space, the U.S. first with a man on the moon, the independence of 14 African countries, the Israeli-Arab Six-Day War, the cultural revolution in China, the civil-rights marches in the textile belt, race riots and burning cities in the North, development of the laser, and discovery of oil in the North Sea and Alaska.For the textile industry, there were shuttleless looms, the introduction of open-end spinning, the burgeoning demand for carpet yarn to feed the tufting machines, the knit boom, and, for the most part, good times and expansion.By 1960, the migration to the suburbs was in full swing, with casual living styles affecting apparel and textilesoveralls became fashionable jeans. There was at least one TV set in nearly 90% of homes, and TV soap operas were influencing how the American home should look.The interstate highways initiated by Eisenhower were networking across the country; truck lines took more business from the railroads which competed with piggy-back trailers for the transcontinental hauls.On May 9, 1960, the Food and Drug Administration approved an oral contraceptive The Pill that would revolutionize the American culture.The first camera-bearing weather satellite went into orbit. Forecasting became more accurate; cotton men could tell when a hurricane was heading for the Texas coast, but they couldn't do anything about it. Mergers proliferated; the day of the conglomerate was at hand. Economists recorded 219 mergers in 1950; 844 in 1960; 2,377 in 1966; 4,462 in 1968; 6,132 in 1969, and so on and on and on.That November, John F. Kennedy won a squeaker over Richard M. Nixon.Starting SalariesStarting salaries for 1960 textile school graduates averaged $6,000 with a few getting as much as $8,000. They were entering an industry fast changing from the old days of natural fibers and inherited technology.[ Ga Tech graduated 34 in 1960, Philadelphia College of Textiles 88, Clemson 86, Auburn 21, and N.C. State 53Editor]An "unprecedented" increase in types of man-made fibers was anticipated over the next few years. Production of the synthetics continued to increase; world production of 7 billion pounds in 1959 was up 10% over 1958, the U.S. Leading with 1.1 billion pounds of cellulosic fibers and 645 million pounds of non-cellulosic.The Reporter's annual technical section on man-made fibers listed 41 principal man-made fibers and 36 metallic, stretch, and bulk yarns.In April 1960 the American Textile Machinery Association show became the first to take advantage of the Trade Fair Act of 1959 which permits the duty-free import of machinery for exhibition only. The ATME became the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-lnternational, again filling the cavernous Atlantic City auditorium with the latest textile technology.A meeting in Canada of 450 of the world's leading textile technologists praised the shuttleless loom as the most radical departure from conventional weaving since the fly shuttle was developed 200 years earlier. J. Craig Huff of Draper told the group the shuttleless loom increased weaver productivity 40% and cut maintenance and repair 70%.Goodyear Aircraft Corp. engineers were working with Lansdowne Steel and Iron on a loom to make the fabric for expandable structures to be used in outer space.Inflatable Nylon HouseAn enterprising building contractor in Ohio was using a "nylon air house"a tentlike structure inflated by air pressureto permit construction of homes in winter weather, the $1,000 cost per home being more than offset by the savings of uninterrupted work. W. C. (Dan) Daniels reported to the Southern Textile Association on a visit to Russia, saying Nikita Krushchev's claim that the Soviet Union would overtake the U.S. in production within seven years was not only ridiculous, but absurd; that the productive capacity of the Soviet factory worker was only 48% of his American counterpart.The Reporter continued the editorial battle against imports:"There will be another meeting of the organization known as GATT in Geneva in September of this year. This will be a bargaining session attended by the United States and 36 other countries who are members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. We have everything to lose and nothing to gain in this bargaining which is conducted by bureaucrats and their paid economists, who have already caused us so much harm."And, again:We read that Communist China is already the largest buyer of wool tops and partially processed wool from both Great Britain and Australia and that in 10 years, the mainland of China will rival Japan as the buyer of Australian wools. Should we have a complacent attitude"And yet again:The U.S. State Department puts the equivalent of two Dan Rivers out of business.' If the above appeared on the press wires, then the average American citizen would understand our predicament."Why do we use Dan River as an example Because that great company, manufacturing among other items, sheetings and shirtings, dress goods and slack fabrics, is the biggest strictly cotton goods manufacturer in the world."Yet with over 17,000 looms and an employee roll of approximately 15,600 persons, it can only produce, yardage wise, one half the amount of the imports which are flowing into this countryas of nowat the rate of better than one and one-eighth billion square yards per annum."Trade Barriers Against U.S.The Reporter also noted that 52 nations, many of them prime exporters to the U.S., had raised insurmountable barriers against imports of American cotton textiles.The industry was not Lying down and playing dead.The Milliken Breakfast Show was "bursting the walls" at the Astor Hotel's grand ballroom, having transferred from the Statler to get more room. The show, opening event of the fall fashion fabric market, drew more than lS,500 retail executives, merchandisers, and buyers to the Broadway-quality event.Textile Machine Works at Reading, Pa., was completing a five-year diversification program. At the start of this program full-fashioned hosiery machines accounted for85% of production, now it was reduced to less than 15%.A survey of mill village sales showed 73.6% of the houses had been bought by employees of the mills.John D. Cooper, Jr., president of Harriet-Henderson Cotton Mills, and Robert E. Pomeranz, president of Roberts Co., were inducted into the America's Textile Reporter's Hall of Fame at a dinner October 6, prior to the Southern Textile Exposition which exhibited more machinery than ever before, much of it improved since the ATME-I in the spring. The Draper and Wilcox and Gibbs automatic doffers and the Maxbo pneumatic shuttleless loom drew particular attention as did the CromptonandKnowles C-7A loom, 82 inches between swords.By spring of 1961, some 1800 Draper shuttleless looms had been installed in 15 mills, The Reporter said.Political Tensions and LoveThe new U.S. president stumbled badly in the early months of 1961, approving invasion of Cuba by U.S.-based refugees, but withholding air cover at the last minute. The Russians r noted the indecision and began threatening a separate treaty with East Germany, barring the West from Berlin. President Kennedy stiffened, called up reserves and stood firm. Tension lessened after the Reds, on the night of August 13, threw up the Berlin Wall to halt the brain drain from East Germany to the West; some 30,444 fled in the year before the wall went up. The U.S. did not resist the Wall, but Krushchev toned down his threats.In September, Textile Hall Corp. announced the purchase of a site adjoining Greenville Downtown Airport for construction of a new Textile Hall to accommodate the growing demand for exhibit space. [ The old hall with all its annexes had only 123,000 sq. ft. The new hall was planned to have 150,000, but demand for exhibition space was so good, the Corporation added 45,000 sq. ft. before the 1964 show opened, making a total of 195,000 sq. ft. An additional 60,000 sq.ft. plus a lobby was added in time for the '66 show, another 100,000 sq.ft. added in '68-'69, making 355,000 sq.ft. The most recent addition of 155,000 now brings the total to 512,000 sq.ft.Editor]Announcement in mid-October of a revised machinery depreciation schedule from the old 25-30 year range to 15 years was a vast encouragement to both mills and machinery makers.J. Spencer Love of Burlington Industries expressed the spirit of the times thus: "I'm proud to admit that the textile industry is the most bitterly competitive U.S. industry and, because of it, we are probably the most efficient U.S. industry."The acid proof of it is that our prices and values are better than 10 years ago, while the prices of, say, steel and autos have soared. We've kept productivity in line with cost advances."Astronaut Alan Shepard spent 15 minutes in sub-orbital space, prelude to John Glenn's three-time orbit of Earth, February 20, 1962. Before the year was over, the U.S.'s Ranger IV hit the far side of the moon. Those peaceful rockets showed the range and power of nuclear-tipped military missiles.Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring brought home to millions the danger to wildlife and pollinating insects of the pesticides then in growing use. The environmental movement was launched.Cotton StagnatesCotton was on editor Bennett's mind: "Are we gaining or losing In 1929, we produced about 15 million bales of cotton in this country. In 1960, we did about the same."The 1929 crop had a value of $1,250,000,000 in 1929 dollars. The 1960 crop had a value of $2,125,000,000 in 1960 dollars."Foreign countries in 1929 produced almost an even 12 million bales. This had increased by 1960 to nearly 47 million bales. We used to export seven or eight million bales of our production; today we barely reach five million. Back in that earlier year, it took 43 million acres to produce that nearly 15-million-bale crop. Today, it only takes a little over 14.5 million acres. Our population then was approximately 123 million while the 1960 figure is almost 180 million."Cotton spindles then in place:United States - 19,561,000 spindlesNew England - 1,300,000 spindlesCotton States - 18,187,000 spindlesLeaders in the South were South Carolina with 6,695,000 spindles; North Carolina with 5,633,000; Georgia with 2,852,000; and Alabama with 1.603,000.Near the end of the spring season for meetings, Editor Bennett published this recipe for an association meeting:

"Be sure your speakers have big names, no enemies and nothing to say."Strain out all strong opinions and controversial subjects."Pick topics that are inoffensively general or safely technical."Warm over and serve to a half-empty hall."
There were developing trends of consequence: The spread of the interstate highways was being followed by the mushrooming of motels, a major market for textile goods. Sales of broadloom carpets and rugs were 65 million square yards in 1951, 155 million square yards in 1961.The Stigma ErodesMill executives' objections to purchasing machinery from abroad were rapidly disappearing as some foreign innovations made profound changes in processing. Prototypes of a complete new system by Toyobo-Howa Textile Engineering Company of Japan for preparation and spinning of yarn were received by Saco-Lowell which was to produce the system. There were more and more cross- licensing and sales agreements between U.S. and foreign machinery makers.Significantly more apparel, fabric and machinery were moving by air, both domestically and internationally. Piggy-back trailers were now a common sight on the interstates.As of October 1, 1962, the American Cotton Manufacturers Institute became the American Textile Manufacturers Institute.A few days later, the Trade Exposition Act gave the president the authority to cut tariffs up to 50% below the 1962 level or to raise them 50% above the 1934 level within the next five years, and to remove tariffs on products in which the United States and Western Europe accounted for 80% of free world trade.A letter to the editor from Robert G. Blauner of Alltex Machinery Co. of New York, a machinery broker, reported bitterly that letters addressed to foreign agencies receiving loans from the United States were being returned "address unknown." "What's going on here" he asked.The America's Textile Reporter's 1962 Mr. Textiles Award honored W. Frank Lowell of Saco-Lowell, and commemorative scrolls were presented to some 300 mills established prior to 1887 as The Reporter observed its 75th birthday. The masthead showed: E. Howard Bennett, editor and publisher; Frank P. Hennett, Jr., chairman of the Board; Frank P. Bennett, III, executive editor; Charles R. Bennett, Jr., corporation vice president; and J. Randolph Taylor, vice president.The Southern Textile Exposition in October was the last in the downtown Textile Hall, now grown to nine annexes, including a portion of the old Piedmont and Northern Railway warehouses in which the first STE in 1915 was held. The Reporter listed among the stars of the show:The Abbott winder, CromptonandKnowles C9 loom, Draper's automatic doffer, the Davis and Furber yarn system, Machinecraft's spinarrow spinning frame, the Crosrol card conversion, Fletcher's duplex twister, Robert's Arrow spinning frame, Terrell Machine's bobbin cleaner, Saco-Lowell's Spinamatic frame, the Utex two-for-one twister, Whitinsville's rings, Ashworth Bros. wire, Abington's Rolakleen system, the Louis P. Batson Co. harness cord, Cometsa spindles, the Picanol President loom and the SACM screen printing machine.The show had been over only a few days when U.S. intelligence confirmed that the Russians were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy challenged Krushchev, and the world stood on the brink of nuclear war until the Russians backed down, promising to remove the missiles if the U.S. would promise not to invade Cuba.The Alive and The DeadThe talk of the industry in 1963 was the phenomenally fast construction of Magnolia Finishing Plant to process polyester-cotton blends for Milliken's Pacolet Industries.Charles E. Daniel, the can-do head of Daniel Construction Co., bulled the Blacksburg, S.C. project to completion in six months and 19 days from concept of the $15 million facility to on-stream. He had as many as 2,200 on the job at one time.Dalton, Georgia's tufting manufacturers continued to expand and modernize. A contributor to the ever-rising sales of their product was a finding that carpet was an excellent acoustical material, absorbing up to 49 per cent of noise in public buildings. But Dalton mills did not have a monopoly. Mohasco was completing a $4 million expansion program at its 500,000 sq.ft. Dixiana mill in Dillon, S.C., said to be the world's largest tufting plant.Woodside Mills had its $11 million, 401,000 sq.ft. Beattie plant nearing completion at Fountain Inn' S.C., an investment of $31,500 per job for the 350 who would be employed there. H. W. (Bill) Close, ever an advocate of modernization, was presiding over the 75th anniversary of Springs Mills, now grown to 10 plants in three counties.These and other examples of progress prompted The Reporter to publish a piece on "Why the Mill Closed," a reminder to those who did not keep up to snuff. The piece was part of a report by a vice-president, sales manager to his president:The general situation regarding stability of deliveries on the basis of commitments made by the mill during the past year can only be characterized as chaotic."Goods sold on the basis of schedules from the mill have run considerably behind in deliveries from a period of weeks to months.There has been an increasing lack of quality control in practically all numbers. This includes not only seasonal goods but also style qualities which the mill had been manufacturing anywhere from five to fifty years."Off quality goods rejected for defects run as high as 15% on an overall basis, and on individual deliveries of piece lots numbering up to 50 pieces, have run from 25% to 50%. Replacements of these rejected qualities have taken from several weeks to several months."WinnersThe Fortune 500 for 1963 listed 24 textile/apparel firms, the top five in sales being:Burlington Industries---------- $1,099,988J. P. Stevens------------------------- 585,859United Merchants------------------- 502,422Celanese------------------------------- 317,078M. Lowenstein------------------------ 270,602The Quartermaster Corps said tests were showing that blends were better than all-wool fabrics, and that uniforms with 30% nylon, polyester or modacrylic were best.The complaints of overseers and superintendents of problems with running blends, heard so often in the 1950's, now were seldom heard.In 1963, ITMA in Hannover, West Germany, was notable for advances in knitting, in shuttleless looms, in sensing and monitoring devices and for precision engineering of the machines.Licensing arrangements for manufacturing and sales between American and European firms were becoming more common. An example: the CromptonandKnowles project to manufacture in Worcester and in Italy an eight-color, shuttleless woolen loom designed by a German firm.And Still More ChangeOn November 22, the nation watched in horror as President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson took over, soon to secure passage of legislation forbidding discrimination in jobs, accommodations and services. He was to "make war on poverty" with a plan for a "Great Society."He easily won nomination on his own in 1964, and as easily defeated Barry Goldwater in a campaign now notable for the emergence of Ronald Reagan as a speaker who could convey the conservative message convincingly.Textile business was picking up. More young men were being drafted and sent to Vietnam. Mills were filling orders for both military and civilian needs; there was as yet no need to choose between guns and butter.The return to one-price cotton contributed to a continuing increase in mill orders for new machinery. Orders in 1964 were running 20% ahead of 1963.New fiber developments were opening the way for knits to expand out of the one-fashion look into plaids, checks and prints.The 99-year-old New Orleans Cotton Exchange suspended trading on July 9th. Exchange Treasurer Herman S. Kohlmeyer blamed the federal government's role in pricing, saying there was no reason to continue trading in cotton futures because "the government has socialized the industry."A giant loom capable of simultaneously weaving 102,000 strands of metallic yarn into three-dimensional, expandable structures for use in space went into operation at Goodyear Aerospace Corporation in Akron, Ohio.Senator Charles E. Daniel died September 12th. He had built more than 400 plants in the South, more than 250 in South Carolina alone.The Merrimack Valley Textile Museum had its formal opening September 19, a move to preserve a rich New England heritage.The first Southern Textile Exposition in the new Textile Hall, which was expanded twice while under construction, had more than 475 exhibitors, including the most extensive range of finishing machinery ever seen in the South. Shuttleless looms drew great crowds. Considered the best-ever of the STE's, the exhibits demonstrated evolution, but nothing radically new was shown.America's Textile Reporter presented the Mr. Textiles Award for 1964 to Charles A. Cannon, head of Cannon Mills, Kannapolis, N.C.The Soaring SixtiesEach new mill announced in 1965 was said by the textile press to be the most up to date. Among them were:
  • Swift Spinning Mills' $4 million "95% automated" combed yarn plant at Columbus, Ga.
  • Jefferson Mills plant reducing the number of manufacturing processes from 17 to 6, requiring only 50 employees.
Milliken dedicated its 94,000 sq.ft. Management Information Center at Spartanburg, S.C., a computer-based operation handling all paper work for the manufacturing and selling operations.Burlington dedicated the 500,000 sq.ft., $5 million J. Spencer Love Hosiery Center at Burlington, N.C., handling finishing and distribution as well as administration and research and development for Burlington Hosiery Co., 1,100 workers with 400 more to come.A Reporter editorial asked: "did the trend to casual wear catch traditional suit makers napping"noting that suit sales remained at the 20 million a year plateau despite the increasing population.Frank French, president of the Fiber Division of Allied Chemical Co., told a Textile Salesmen's Association meeting that "prosperity comes soonest to those individuals and organizations who can most rapidly turn unexpected innovations into new sales and profit opportunities." He cited the growth of bonded fabrics from 40 million yards in 1963 to 100 million yards in 1964 with expectations of 200 to 300 million yards in 1965. Also cited were the alertness of such firms as Levi Strauss and J. C. Penney in applying permanent press to boys' casual slacks, and the growth of tufting and of textured nylon.ATM1 reported 24.2 weeks of unfilled orders on cotton goods in July, the highest on record. That month, textile employment stood at 925,000, the highest monthly total in five years.After confining its growth to Greenwood County, South Carolina for 75 years, Greenwood Mills bought Joanna Cotton Mills, a 2,500 loom, 100,000 spindle operation in nearby Laurens County.Still More New MillsSpartan Mills' $7 million John H. Montgomery plant was among a number of new mills planned, under construction or just completed.Celanese was projecting $200 million in sales by 1970 for its polyester recording tape plant at Greer, S.C., citing the need for tape in the space program, in computers and by the general public.More than 495 exhibitors from 16 countries took part in the 1965 ATME-I in Atlantic City in September, drawing a goodly crowd to inspect the new machinery. Exhibitors complained of labor costs and union work rules.The year was memorable to many for the good business they enjoyed, but there were other events not so pleasant: the growing number of ground troops in Vietnam and the mounting casualties; the anti-business bias of the Great Society bureaucracy; the riots in Watts; and, most traumatic to the industry's New York City contingent, the power blackout of November 9-10 that left thousands with tales of being trapped in office towers and subways.The Watts riot was but an overture to the riots that would make 1966 a nightmare for many cities, more than 40 riots were recorded before the year was over and the outcry for "black power" was producing a backlash.In the textile states, more and more blacks were finding jobs in the mills. The national unemployment rate was down to 3.7% in April.New mills were springing up everywhere. In South Carolina alone:
  • Alice Manufacturing's $6 million Ellison plant at Easley.
  • Clinton Mills' $8 million Bailey plant at Clinton.
  • Graniteville Companys $8. 5 million Townsend plant at Graniteville.
  • Inman Mills' $6 million Ramey plant at Enoree.
  • Springs Mills' $4.5 million carpet yarn and tufting plant at York.
  • J. P. Stevens' $10 million mill at Pamplico.
  • Lowenstein's $10 million Salem plant at Anderson.
  • J. P. Stevens' $5 million plant at Abbeville.
  • J. P. Stevens' $10 million glass fiber weaving plant at Walterboro.
  • Q Lowenstein's $10 million Wamsutta sheeting plant in Anderson County.
  • Klopman Mills of Burlington Industries' $6.5 million plant at Society Hill.
  • Deering Milliken plant near Saluda.
  • Springs' $9 million Leroy plant at Ft. Lawn. 1959
  • Milliken's $2 million, 50,000 sq.ft. addition to the DM Research Center, the seventh since the building was occupied in 1958.
Employment at the Eastman plants in Kingsport, Tennessee passed the 12,000 mark for the first time since WWII. Fortune Magazine said Cannon Mills was one of the country's l0 richest corporations in terms of cash assets, ranking 7th. Cannon had $82,426,000 in cash in 1965, 34.9% of the firm's total assets.Blind-Sided by ImportsThe Reporter warned again of trouble ahead: "As cotton textile imports continue to increase, ATMI reports and charts show a dangerously rapid growth of shipments during the past year from a number of "emerging" countries."The ATMI charts show Japan and Hong Kong still the first and second largest suppliers, respectively, of cotton textiles to the U.S. market. However, in just one year, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, Singapore, Spain and Colombia have, as a group, tripled their shipments to the U.S., and together today represent substantially more imports than either Japan or Hong Kong."William J. Erwin, chairman of Dan River Mills and president of ATMI, was on the offensive against the pro-import group that called the textile industry "backward." Said he: "The textile industry is aggressive, and this aggressiveness in adopting new techniques and better equipment has meant increased productivity."Evidence There's plenty of it. For example, in 1930, there were more than 31 million spindles in place, meeting the demands of less than 124 million people. Today, 19.4 million spindles meet the demands of more than 196 million people, plus the demands of an expanding military."Cards are running experimentally at 10 times the speed possible in 1948. In the same 18-year period, the speeds of spinning frames, conventional looms and combers have increased 70%. And, shuttleless looms are doubling the speed of conventional looms."One 20,000 spindle plant can equal the production of a S0,000 spindle plant of 16 years ago, and of a 28,400 spindle plant of only six years ago.The Knit BoomThe knitting segment of the industry was on a roll. In 1964, the David Gessner Co. of Worcester, Mass., had predicted a big market for its new line of finishing machinery for knits. In 1966, more than half the company's sales were to finishers of knit fabrics. The industry's shipments of finished knit cloth increased from 450,128,000 pounds in 1965, to 558,617,000 pounds in just one year.Also in 1966, nearly 700 manufacturers from 31 states and 12 foreign countries exhibited in the October Southern Textile Exposition, occupying all available space in Textile Hall, which had added a 70,000 sq.ft. "loom room" since the 1964 show, as well as a seven-acre parking lot. Notable were the increasing presence of foreign machinery, and further improvements on equipment first shown at the 1963 ITMA or 1965 ATME-I.The Japanese were showing the Prince waterjet loom, and there was a showtime announcement that Draper had been licensed to make and sell the Elitex (Czech)waterjet loom in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.Before the show ended, officials of the American Textile Machinery Association and Textile Hall Corporation were discussing the possibilities of a new cycle of shows based in Greenville, co-sponsored by the two organization with Textile Hall as management.In a post-show review, The Reporter said: "It seems to be the consensus that most mill and machinery men prefer Greenville to Atlantic City."Agreement was reached in 1967 by Textile Hall and ATMA provided for a two-year cycle of shows.O-E Spinning IntroducedThe 1967 ITMA in Basle, Switzerland, was notable for the introduction of open-end spinning in an off-site, high-security location in a little building in the village of St. Louis, France, just over the border. There, mill men waited in line to see in operation the rotor devised by the Czechs, who were not welcome at ITMA because of their Communist status. In the immense halls of the official show, knitting and finishing were high priority must-sees, with the shuttleless looms, automatic winding and spinning also drawing continuous crowds.The industry was still churning out the textiles needed for the civilian population and for the U.S. forces in Vietnam, now numbering 475,000.American Hoechst opened a $366 million polyester plant at Spartanburg, S.C., a large example of foreign investment in U.S. production facilities. Hoechst joined a growing group of Swiss and German firms with branch plants in the Spartanburg-Greenville area.A tabulation in a Reporter issue early in 1968 gave an interesting comparison of the new and rebuilt spindles being put in place by the mills.There was industry hope, even back in 1968, of legislation to ease the impact of imports. The Reporter exhorted: "Let's not let up! The free traders are running scared. The 'conservationists' (as former Secretary of Commerce Connor recently labeled those that free traders call 'protectionists') have made such headway in their drive for import quota legislation, a counter-attack of major proportions is underway and it will intensify."The administration seems to have marshaled the entire cabinet, and some sub-cabinet members, to denounce the 'dire ' effects of import quota legislation. The Reporter cited an object lesson:"Since 1951, a thousand British textile plants have failed. Less than 750 mills are running in the United Kingdom today. Textile employment in 1951 was 314,000. Now it is about 100,000."Machinery Industry Starts SkidThere was a somber report that in 1967, for the first time, the balance of trade in textile machinery was not favorable to the United States. The ATMA cited the problems of non-tariff barriers to exports and the lack in the United States of the export incentives common in other countries.A Reporter editorial said: "We are afraid that there are more than a few textile men who behave like the individual cited some years ago who, after giving all his department heads, superintendents and overseers a long lecture on the afflictions suffered by his own company because of imported textile fabrics, walked out of the office building, jumped into his Jaguar and drove off to lunch."There were estimates that the bonded knit fabrics introduced in 1962 could help the menswear industry break the 20 million suit barrier. Shipments for 1967 amounted to 450 million yards, but there were cautions about inferior performances.Weavers were itching to get into the knit field, but faced shortages of machinery and trained technicians. Knitted outerwear was growing at a rate nine times that of woven apparel. There was talk of a black market in positions on the waiting list for new knitting machines.Speeds six times that of a conventional loom were being claimed for the Karl Mayer Co.'s Co-We-Knit [for combined weaving and knitting) that produced woven-look wool fabrics.President Johnson told Robert Kennedy he did not want him as a running mate. Kennedy resigned as attorney-general, began campaigning for the nomination, was murdered June 5 in a California hotel kitchen. But, Johnson did not run; the mounting resistance to his Vietnam no-win war was too much. Richard Nixon handled Hubert Humphrey with ease.Howard Bennett DiesThe August 1, 1968 issue of The Reporter said: Howard Bennett was buried last week. He would have been 87 October 24th."Howard Bennett, son of founder Frank P. Bennett, was the publication's second editor and publisher, a forthright man with his roots deep in New England. He was succeeded by Frank P. Bennett IIl."At least twice, he (Howard Bennett) campaigned against the American Woolen management; first in 1936 when William B. Warner of McCall's Magazine and his henchman Lionel Noah, known as 'The Lion', were replaced by Moses Pendleton, and later when he helped with Roy Little of Textron to procure all of the assets of that old, gigantic but tottering, woolen and worsted empire for the shareholders."The name of J. Randolph Taylor, vice president, disappeared from The Reporter's masthead that October of 1968; he had purchased Clark Publishing Company of Charlotte, N.C., and was now publisher of Textile Bulletin. In later years, he would acquire America's Textiles Reporter and merge the Textile Bulletin with the older publication which he had joined in 1938.The 1968 STE was something of a dress rehearsal for the 1969 ATME-I; The Reporter ran an article giving out of state or country visitors the ABC's of brown-bagging (bring your own booze), for those not familiar with South Carolina's alcohol beverage laws. Stevens Aviation advertised that 40 pilots and a fleet of airplanes were available for non-scheduled flights to and from the front door of Textile Hall, plus hourly flights to and from Charlotte.The Hall's new wing was under construction, contributing to traffic jams that resulted from crowds that one textile executive called just too damned big". Exhibitors filled the Hall with machinery and equipment that The Reporter called "evolutionary but not revolutionary".That was machinery. The mills had done some near-revolutionary work for the Army, reducing the weight of a soldier's personal equipment from 36 to 18 pounds by way of such developments as a quick-drying poncho, mosquito resisting uniform fabrics, lightweight knitted shirts for nightwear, multi-purpose raschel knit netting, and fire-retardant fabrics.Vietnam peace talks began January 10, 1969. U. S. forces, a total of 543,000 in April, began withdrawal on July 8. There was some offset for the humiliation. Apollo 11 1anded on the Moon July 20th, and Neil Armstrong stepped out wearing clothing designed by Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. and DuPont, the material being Beta cloth woven from ultra-fine fibers of pure glass to form the outer layer of the space suit, the 20 under layers being of various fibers developed by DuPont.Production Rates DoubleP. T. Bodell, Saco-Lowell's vice president for research, itemized the results of 20 years of development:
  • 24 cards in 1968 did the work of 54 in 1948.
  • 12 deliveries of 1968 drawing did the work of 72 in 1948.
  • 320 roving spindles in 1968 did the work of 1,404 in 1948.
  • 15,456 spinning spindles in 1968 did the work of 21,060 spindles in 1948.
Uncle Sam had decided that mills and machinery must be concerned less with productivity than with environment; henceforth, mills handling federal contracts must keep noise to a level of 90 decibels (Nothing was said about the racket of the Beatles or the other noises emitted by the radios and stereos of the young.).Black employment in textile mills rose to 10.6% in the first quarter of 1969, well above the national average. The mills were hiring blacks four times faster than the national average and had on the payrolls 105,000 blacks out of 993,000 workers.Atr Moves To Greenville"After 82 years of uninterrupted publication in Boston, America's Textile Reporter is now headquartered, edited and printed within the Textile Center of the World, Greenville, South Carolina," said the announcement. The Reporter had moved executive and editorial offices to Greenville by 1955, but had kept some editorial and all production functions in Boston until the final move.A Spanish machinery scandal disturbed U.S. owners of Iwer shuttleless looms. Six principals of Maquinario Textil del Norte de Espana were arrested in August for alleged misuse of government export loans in the amount of $142.4 million. American Iwer, seeking to reassure mills, said inventory held at Greenville would not be dumped, warranties would be honored, and parts would be available.The ATME-I show in 1969 listed 293 manufacturers from 16 countries. The Reporter saw as highlights of the exhibition:
  • automatic opening leading into chute-fed systems for high-speed cards.
  • refined machinery specifically engineered for production of non-wovens.
  • non-conventional spinning, including several versions of open-end spinning.
  • automatic doffing.
  • machinery and auxiliary equipment for extrusion and processing of manmade fibers, filament and film, especially polypropylene being extensively used for carpet backing.
  • machinery for stretch and textured yarns.
  • more versatile looms, weaving machines and knitting machines.
  • vastly improved machinery for bleaching, dyeing and finishing of fiber and fabric, including four screen printing machines.
The Reporter commented that more than half the exhibitors came from outside the United States.The National Cotton Council formed the Cotton Producers Institute in 1960 to step up cotton research and promotion. In 1970 the Institute was separated from the Council and became Cotton&am