American Thread Company

American Thread Company
Item# 2104

American Thread Company
The American Thread Company opened its doors in 1898 as a New Jersey corporation. Before 1898 the company’s mills were part of the Willimantic (CT) Linen Company, which was in business from 1854 to 1898. For over 130 years the American Thread produced thread and related products. Velcro was invented at the American Thread. The company grew and built new buildings. Each building was referred to by a number; Mill Number 1, Mill Number 2, and so forth. There were six main mills, with other smaller buildings making up the complex as well. The mills had their own stables for housing the many horses needed, and of course the company store. The mill buildings were made of stone quarried from the Willimantic River called gneiss, which also became known as Willimantic Granite. Mill Number 4 was the most famous of the Mills.

Mill Number 4 was the largest mill building not only in the country, but in the world. A German manufacturing company owned a building almost as large. There was a great competition between these two mills to be the biggest. The German company finally built an addition to their own mill, making it larger than Mill Number 4. American Thread could not have this! They immediately set to work building a small addition to Mill Number 4, just enough extra space to make them the biggest mill again. Mill Number 4 was also the first mill to have electricity. One of the owners was an acquaintance of Thomas Edison, who was working on his invention for electric lighting at the time. Thomas Edison installed an early lighting system in the mill. The sparks the lights made added to all the machine oil in the mill caused dangerous conditions. When he improved on his invention he installed his new lights in Mill Number 4.

The Willimantic Mill was closed in 1985 when the company moved to North Carolina.

Certificate: Preferred Capital Stock, issued in the 1940’s

Printer not indicated

Dimensions: 8” (h) x 11 1/2” (w)

State: NJ-New Jersey

Subject Matter: Textiles and Related

Vignette Topic(s): Unique Theme

Condition: Vertical fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and body.

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