Friday, October 14, 2011

Card for "Hero" blanket from Muncy Woolen Mills Co.

This stained and torn card is 6 inches wide by 4¼ inches deep and states:

Muncy Woolen Mills Co.

Muncy Woolen Mills was located in Muncy, Pennsylvania, a small borough along the West Branch Susquehanna River in Lycoming County. Muncy is about 15 miles east of Williamsport and is just 10 miles east of Montoursville, where I spent some of my childhood.

Here's what I was able to discover online regarding Muncy Woolen Mills, roughly in chronological order:

  • In William Henry Egle's 1895 book "Notes and queries: Historical, biographical, and genealogical, chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2," the following passage described the family that helped found Muncy Woolen Mills, although there is a frustrating lack of dates and specifics:
    Samuel Rogers, the second, who became one of the most enterprising business men on the West Branch ... [came] to reside at the forks of the Loyalsock at the time the woolen factory was in operation and afterward moved to Muncy. ... Soon after the loss of the woolen factory Samuel Rodgers [sic], with his brother Jonathan, bought a mill property at Muncy, consisting of saw, grist and plaster mills, and to which they added a woolen mill. This property, after being operated for about ten years, was destroyed by fire. The brothers then dissolved partnership and Samuel built another factory near Muncy, where he continued for about fifteen years, when he established the White Deer woolen mills and later the Briar Creek mills in Columbia County. His sons established an extensive woolen factory on Bear creek, near the southern line of this county, in 1854, and his grandsons are now connected with the Muncy woolen mills. His death occurred in 1857.
  • In "History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania," published in 1892 by John Franklin Meginness, the company's founding is described:
    The manufacturing industries of Muncy have increased greatly during the past decade. The Muncy Woolen Mills Company, founding in 1882, after a prosperous career of ten years, was chartered February 12, 1892, with a capital of $100,000. The directors are George H. Rogers, James Coulter, Samuel Rogers, and Samuel Coulter, Muncy; Uriah Megahan and J. Clinton Hill, Williamsport. The mills of the company are situated on Market street near the basin, and the buildings are brick. The consumption of wool annually reaches 150,000 pounds. During the year 1891 the company manufactured and sold 30,000 blankets. From fifty to sixty hands are employed.
  • The Muncy Historical Society's website, in a brief history of the borough, indicates that the West Branch Canal, a crucial early commerce hub, ended at the Muncy Woolen Mills.
  • In "The Official Directory of the World's Columbian Exposition, May 1st to October 30th, 1893,"1 published by W. B. Conkey Company, Muncy Woolen Mills is listed as an official exhibitor of woolen goods, blankets, robes, rugs and shawls at the Chicago event.
  • In "Boyd's Directory of Williamsport," published in 1898, James Coulter is listed as the president of Muncy Woolen Mills.
  • Muncy Woolen Mills advertised in several issues of American Wool and Cotton Reporter in 1899. The company described itself as "Manufacturers of White and Colored all Wool Bed" and "Blankets." In the August 31, 1899, issue, the company listed several items for sale, including a D&F Double Cylinder Twister; a D&F 90-inch up and down Gig; and a 50-spladle Lindsey & Hyde Yarn Reel with the latest patterns.
  • The (Muncy) Luminary stated in its news report on March 6, 1902, that: "Yesterday afternoon about 2:30 o'clock the roof of the dye house at the plant of the Muncy Woolen Mills company on Market street, collapsed, and two men, Samuel Rogers and Thomas Opp were injured, one quite badly."
  • The (Muncy) Luminary stated in its news report on October 30, 1902, that: "The Muncy Woolen Mills Company, manufacturers of blankets, and Sprout, Waldron & Co., manufacturers of flowering mill machinery, are so crowed [sic] with orders that they are running 13 hours a day."
  • The January 21, 1911, edition of the Gazette and Bulletin has an advertisement for a sale on Muncy Woolen Mills blankets at L. L. Stearns & Sons Department Store in Williamsport.2 "One Hundred Per Cent All Wool Blankets," typically $5 to $6.50, were on sale for $4 to $5. Victoria California, Maid o' the Mist, and Sanitary Natural Grey wool blankets were also for sale, all for $5 or less.3 There is no mention of a "Hero" blanket. It's pure speculation on my part, but perhaps that came out during World War I?
  • Muncy Woolen Mills is listed as a supplier of blankets in the May 1921 Chilton Hotel Supply Index.
  • Here's an interesting snippet from the 1925 book "Sales Management, Volume 9": "Two hundred new accounts were secured by the Muncy Woolen Mills Company of Muncy, Pennsylvania, through a recent direct mail campaign carried out on a list of 1,000 dealers."
  • In "History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania," published in 1929 by Colonel Thomas W. Lloyd, secretary of the Lycoming Historical Society, the following is written: "The Muncy Woolen Mills, employing about fifty persons, has a reputation which is only bounded by the two coasts. Until very recently it had been in the hands of two members of the same families for more than seventy years. The company devotes itself entirely to the manufacture of all-wool blankets and its reputation for good workmanship and the high quality of its output extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and even to Europe. It is in almost continuous operation."
  • The (Muncy) Luminary stated in its news report on September 26, 1935, that: "The reopening of the Muncy Woolen Mills by a new company seems more certain each day as representatives of the new company continue to conduct extensive experiments with the machinery at the mill."
  • After Muncy was flooded in March 1936, the Gazette and Bulletin reported on March 27 that the "clothing headquarters" was being moved from the school to the Muncy Woolen Mills.

1. The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492.
2. The Stearns ad copy states: "Business makes business. Because we are such large distributors of the fine Blankets made by the MUNCY WOOLEN MILLS and buy so highly in all their various makes, they are glad to give us first choice of desirable special lots, which means Blankets of quality at close to wholesale prices. So, when such savings as are here illustrated can be made on the best of Blankets it behooves all housekeepers, proprietors of hotels, and boarding houses to take advantage of these offerings, thereby practicing the wisest kind of economy."
3. Keep in mind: A blanket that cost $5 in 1911 would cost about $115 today, according to The Inflation Calculator. Wool blankets were not purchases to be taken lightly.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the history on Muncy Woolen Mills Co.