Mitchell Company Rayon Piece Goods, 1949

When I was a kid in the 1960s, going to Spindale meant going to the numerous fabric mill outlets to buy bargain fabrics.  It was the heyday of North Carolina textiles, and Spindale was right in the center of the action.

From the name, you could guess that Spindale got its start as a spinning and textile center.  It was not a town at all until the 1920s when the company town around the textile mill incorporated.  By the mid century there were several large textile and sewing factories in and around Spindale.  Stonecutter, which was a vertical operation, which involved both spinning and weaving, Spindale Mills, and the factory that made Bon Worth clothing were all located in Spindale.

I could not find a reference to a Mitchell factory, so I’m guessing that the Mitchell Company was one of the many sellers of textiles in the area.  From what I can tell, it was in business until fairly recently, though I could not find a reference to its closing in the local newspaper.  But it probably happened after 1998, when the bottom fell out of Spindale industry.  That was the year Bon Worth moved their operation to Mexico.  From there it was like dominoes falling.

But in 1949 business was thriving, as textile companies switched from war production to making consumer goods for the new and fast growing families of America.

Click to enlarge

Inside this sales brochure are samples of the various rayons offered by Mitchell. Especially handy are the different samples along with the name of the colors.

I was amazed at how many of them were advertised as being washable, as 1940s rayon is notorious for shrinking and having color bleed.

I found several references to Mitchell Company on the internet, with an address and telephone number.  I called the number and was informed that it was no longer in service.


Filed under North Carolina, Textiles

8 responses to “Mitchell Company Rayon Piece Goods, 1949

  1. It’s so sad to see dwindling number of things “Made in America.” But I’m glad you’re here to remind us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a shame all those great varieties of rayon are so difficult/impossible to locate today. Agreeing with witness2fashion, above, & seconding her thanks, Lizzie!


  3. Well, I wish I could find some of that puckered rayon today–although I certainly wouldn’t dry clean it.


  4. I always wondered how people washed and dealt with bleeding fabrics back in the day. Maybe they just did a lot more dry cleaining.


  5. I love the genteel descriptions of the fabrics and the samples. I remember sample fabrics in the Sears Roebuck catalog. Does anyone else? I, too, lament the fact that fabrics aren’t made in America anymore. I can’t get over how butt ugly and cheap modern fabrics are.


  6. Pingback: Pacific Mills | witness2fashion

  7. I grew up in Spindale and Rutherfordton — went to the Mitchell Company with my mom during the 1980’s! Her mother (my grandmother) was the manager of the Tanner Companies fabric store for many years, and we would go to Mitchell Company for specific items not available at Tanner and a larger selection. I was aware that it had closed down in recent years, and I found your blog trying to Google the history of the Mitchell Company to write my own blog post about fabric stores! Always loved that place…but hated how long we always spent there! (That was before I learned how to sew.)


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