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Mount Vernon Mills And Riegel Division Mark 175 Years

Riegel, the Consumer Products Division of Mount Vernon Mills Inc., Mauldin, S.C., is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.

Riegel's beginnings date back to 1838, when the Pendleton Manufacturing Co. opened its doors in Anderson County, S.C., in the community known since the 1930s as La France. That company was acquired by La France Industries, and then by Riegel Textile Corp., which was acquired in 1985 by R.B. Pamplin Corp., which also had acquired Mount Vernon Mills in 1982 and eventually took the Mount Vernon name. The original plant has been replaced by a newer facility that produces home furnishings and automotive textiles for Mount Vernon's La France Division.

Riegel is based in Johnston, S.C., and has another manufacturing facility in McCormick, S.C. Riegel produces tablecloths, sheets, and terry and surgical towels for textile rental, healthcare, retail and hospitality markets. When it was acquired by Pamplin, it brought with it — in addition to the La France operations and others — a denim manufacturing plant located in Trion, Ga., where the Allgood family had built a mill in 1845, which was purchased by Benjamin D. Riegel in 1912. That plant, part of what Mount Vernon reports is the largest vertical denim operation worldwide, also is part of Mount Vernon's Apparel Fabrics Division, which also manufactures bottomweight twills, duck and plain-weave fabrics, flame-resistant fabrics, and military uniform fabrics.

Mount Vernon Mills itself originated in Baltimore in converted grist mills, with the first conversion taking place in 1847. The company produced cotton duck cloth for ship sails and canvas for tents. It relocated its headquarters to Greenville in 1971 and closed its Baltimore mills.

In addition to Consumer Products, La France and Apparel Fabrics, Mount Vernon also has three other divisions: Brentex, which produces greige fabrics for various applications; Chemicals; and Transportation. Since 1988, the company has invested more than $900 million in various capital projects to help upgrade its facilities and equipment, improve its market position and better serve its customers.

January/February 2013




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