The textile industry began in Floyd County during the early twentieth century with the opening of Massachusetts Cotton Mills in Lindale. Soon, other textile companies began to set up mills and plants in nearby southern and northern Rome. Rome, one of the largest cities along the trail, was a major producer of cotton duck, hosiery, chenille bedspreads, carpet, and rayon.
Floyd Cotton Mills was one of the earliest textile mills established within the city of Rome in 1903. Floyd Cotton Mill and the cotton duck that the mill produced paved the way for other textile companies to establish themselves Rome such as Anchor Duck Mills. Anchor Duck Mills produced duck cotton and a variety of other products. A past employee stated that the mill “could make about any type of fabric that was needed because they had all the various types of equipment.”
Rome Hosiery owned the Cherokee Hosiery Mill, which started production in 1913. The children that were employed by the mill were part of Lewis Wickes Hines famous survey of child labor in American industry. Hines noted that the children could be seen working on the production of hosiery as turners and loopers which were skilled positions.
Walter Dellinger founded Dellinger Bedspread Company to cash in on the rise in demand for chenille bedspreads in the early 1930s. Chenille bedspreads became a popular and profitable industry in Rome and were highly sought after items for tourist who were visiting the area. When the demand for chenille declined after World War II, Dellinger Bedspread Company began to produce carpet until its eventual closing.
In the late 1920s after conducting a nationwide survey, the American Chatillon Corporation purchased 2,000 acres of land in northern Rome and founded the Tubize plant. Tubize produced rayon, a popular synthetic fiber, and gained most of its workforce from Rome and the surrounding communities. During World War II, Tubize produced fibers used in the production of parachutes.
Similar to the textile industry throughout the northwest region, business in the textile mills began to falter in the years following World War II. After merging with several other companies, Floyd Cotton Mills, which had changed its name to Floyd, Strain, and Juilliard Company, closed in the late 1950s. The Dellinger Plant eventually shut down as well.
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