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Auburn Hosiery Mill Inc.
 

 

 

The Auburn Hosiery Mill Inc. original building, was provided by the Auburn Industrial Foundation in 1937. This site was transferred to the Auburn Industrial Foundation by deed March 23, 1937.

 

This site was originally owned by W. E. Jr. Harris (1867-1915) and his wife (Malinda F.) and was conveyed by deed to T. H. Gill  on November 26, 1910. According to the 1920 Census Thomas H. Gill was a Blacksmith and was the owner of the property.

 

Note of interest: While digging to relocate the National Flag at the front of the Hosiery Mill in 2007, those digging came across horse shoes buried in the ground. These horse shoes are now in the Auburn Museum as part of Auburn's preservation of history and would have come from T. H. Gill's Blacksmith shop which was located on the site now occupied by the Auburn Hosiery Mill's front offices.

 

aubhos1.jpg (40184 bytes)

Auburn Hosiery Mill Inc
113 E. Main Street

As it looked in 1937

 

 

 


History

                                                                                                                   by F. Marie Foley

The following synopsis of the history of Auburn Hosiery Mill appeared in Gerber's Newsletter to their employees in the Spring of 1998. It was written by F. Marie Foley shortly after Gerber's purchase of Auburn Hosiery Mills (Auburn & Adairville plants) and their sister company in Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry, Ireland. The history of the Mills was further updated in 2005.

"It was in 1937 that Auburn Hosiery Mill went into operation as a company engaged in the manufacture of women’s silk hosiery. Only the knitting was done locally; the production of the Auburn plant was sent to Belding, Michigan for dyeing and finishing.

The initial work force was 30 persons who were paid at a rate of $1.00 per day for women and $1.50 per day for men.

The building occupied by the company was an example of cooperation between the city and industry. Constructed by the Auburn Industrial Foundation, one of the first in the state, it was leased to the company until 1946, at which time the Mill purchased the building and launched an expansion program which was to take several years and more than double the floor space. Roger Kimball, President of the Company was known to Logan Countians as a man with a restless, energetic mind who set for him and his company high standards of performance.

As early as 1944, the company set up a profit sharing plan. The company made all contributions to the fund. By 1962 the fund contained more than $265,000.00, which was available to employees as loans for construction of homes. Company contributions at the time were being made at the maximum allowed by the U.S. Treasury Department, 15% of wages paid to employees.

Many employees were able to buy or construct homes as a result of this plan.

In 1946 the Adairville Plant was opened as a knitting operation. This plant was known as Auburn Hosiery Mills #2 and was located in the west corner of Railroad And Gallatin Streets. It is said to have been established due to the persistence of a Mrs. Frances Mason Rice. Equipment to manufacture the new seamless hosiery was installed. After two years the then new seamless stockings failed to be popular, and the mill was converted back to the old flat bed knitting machines, knitting conventional hosiery, replacing the state of the art multifeed circular knitting machines. It was not until 1956 that hosiery of the seamless variety became vogue and the plant was re-converted.

In 1951, the Auburn Dyeing and Finishing Co. was formed to dye and package the product of both mills.

In 1962 after 25 years in operation, sales had reached the highest peak in the history of the company, 22,000 dozen pairs a week. Brands from Auburn were named “Auburn”, “Lareine”, and “Promenade”. Soon, more and more shipments were going out to large outlets, which then sold the made-in-Logan County hose under their own labels.

Most of this history is very familiar to me. My father after retiring from farming was an employee of Auburn Hosiery Mills for many years.

In 1978 Roger Kimball sold the business to Mr. James P. Manning and Mr. Hugh Sears, which at this time was still a sheer hosiery operation.

In November 1988 the Adairville plant was expanded by 30,000 sq. ft. to house the facilities for manufacturing Wilson Sport Socks for the United States and European markets. This expansion went into production on July 5, 1989.

In April 1989 James P. Manning became the sole owner of Auburn Hosiery Mills, Inc.

Also in 1989 the company began to phase out the sheer operation and changed over to socks, which was completed by 1995. During this period there has been phenomenal growth experienced by the company.

The city of Auburn and Auburn Hosiery Mills have had a long and fruitful relationship. We have every reason to believe that this relationship will grow and prosper in the future with Gerber Childrenswear."

 

 

 

 

 

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