It’s hard to believe now, but at one time the US had a huge clothing manufacturing industry. There is a lot written about all the fashion companies on Seventh Avenue, New York, and about the great California sportswear companies. But the clothing industry was actually spread all across the country. The South, with its cotton was a major producer of denim, knitwear and socks. Many northern states had thriving wool industries. St. Louis became famous as the center for junior clothing.
Some of the far-flung centers, such as Pendleton in Oregon, and Cone Denim Mills in North Carolina have managed to hang on, and still produce part of their goods in the US, but many others are all but forgotten. One of my favorites of these defunct companies is Bradley. Who could resist a clothing company with the slogan, “Slip into a Bradley and Out-of-Doors!”
Bradley Knitting company was located in Delavan, Wisconsin, and was established in 1904. They made all kinds of woolen knit goods, including swimming suits, sweaters and other sports apparel. This company was very important to the small town of Delavan; it was their chief employer, with 1200 persons working there when the company was at its peak. In fact, they often had to advertise in larger cities in order to keep enough workers. It was a thriving business.
I’m not sure when the company closed, but the last label we have on the VFG Label Resource is from the 1960s. The mill building was, unfortunately, demolished in 2003. I guess they had not heard that soon, mill buildings would be all the rage with developers and urban hipsters!
I love finding Bradley advertising items. I especially love this box. There’s the Bradley slogan intertwined with people enjoying their Bradley Knitwear in the out-of-doors.
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