Moments in Camouflage History

Camouflage, or cryptic coloration, is a natural adaptation in the animal kingdom to help animals survive. Camouflage is a technique that began to be used in the military when trench and aerial warfare became part of military strategy, and it is also used by hunters. The term is derived from the French word camoufler, “to disguise.” This technique has been used not only as part of clothing but to hide installations, vehicles and more. Camouflage is an important factor that has played a part during various periods of history.

1898: U.S. troops smeared themselves and their blue uniforms with mud during the Spanish-American War.

1902: The U.S. Army changed its summer uniforms to brown khaki. Their winter uniforms became olive drab. Blue was kept for special occasions.

1915: France was defeated by Germany and abandoned its white gloves and red pants for a new look in the world’s first military team using stealth attire.

World War I: A change in military tactics gave rise to the implementation of tactical dress.

World War II: Military personnel used netting, smoke and foliage to conceal important locations such as airports, oil tankers and factories. Marines in the Solomon Islands wore “frog” patterns. The pattern was also used on shelters and over helmets and ponchos.

An example of World War II era camouflage:
WWII camo

1960s: The “boonie suit” became preferred by military personnel. Also popular were the tiger-stripe pattern and the commercial duck-hunter pattern. Tiger stripe was favored by the Navy SEALs, Green Berets and Special Forces units.

1970s: Camo began to interest the masses. Jim Crumley’s “Trebark” design was featured in almost every outdoor catalog. In the military, the black, brown, green and khaki M81 woodland was developed and became the new standard.

1980s: Camouflage went teen. Two disparate groups, hunters and teenagers, wore various patterns of camouflage. For the military, “Woodland” was officially introduced and was worn in the Grenada Invasion. The “chocolate chip” desert-shaded uniform was used during the Gulf War. It used dark brown and gray with black specs in its pattern. Other versions were developed that offered a muted version.

2001: The Marine Corps used MARPAT, a pixilated pattern of small, square blocks of color. It could be seen in all branches of the military.

2004 and beyond: The Universal Camouflage Pattern was introduced. It was a mix of tan, green and gray that helps soldiers in multiple environments. It was worn during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Afterward, the pattern was subdued, using beige and brown instead of tan and gray, and was used by all combatant commands.

Modern or UCP camo(Universal Camouflage Pattern):
UPC Camo

Currently: New technology affords the ability to hide larger structures from prying eyes and prevents other means of detection. Vinyl-adhesive photographs can conceal bridges from aerial view. New patents use light-emitting diodes and small cameras in their efforts. Another patented fabric prevents the detection of body heat from infrared radar.

Many people wear camouflage colors and prints today. They may like the style or be taking pride in the military accomplishments of our armed forces. The colors and prints can also be found in more obscure neon, hot bright and pink colors and are seen in ready-to-wear apparel and couture. Some of most popular camo prints these days in fashion and hunting are: Mossy Oak New Break-Up, Realtree Hardwoods, Realtree Xtra, Desert Camo, and Military camo and many more. Most of these patterns or trademarked or copyrighted.

Here are a few examples of our camo or camouflage products:

camo examples

The Importance of Safety Apparel in the Workplace

For many workers, wearing the right outfit can make a huge difference between staying safe and putting themselves in danger. Safety apparel and workwear can protect a worker from any number of different dangers. Learn more about the history of this type of apparel and what types are available–that way you can make the right decision about safety workwear for yourself or those who work with you.

The History of Safety Apparel

Since there were workers and clothing, there has been some form of work safe apparel. However, once machine-created clothing and equipment really caught on, safety apparel became more modernized and could better protect workers. For instance, according to, fire fighters in the United States first had access to a fire helmet in the 1730’s.

Different Types of Safety Workwear

There are as many types of safety gear available as there are jobs. Doctors wear masks that protect them from germs, construction workers need protective footwear, those who work outdoors may need high boots and thick pants to protect against snake or insect bites and those who are working on the road need reflective garments that allow oncoming motorist to easily spot them–even after dark. The most important thing is that the gear is specifically chosen for the job at hand.

Today, many workers aren’t left to their own devices when it comes to choosing the right safety apparel. There are different codes in place that regulate certain equipment be worn by workers in certain industries. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) dictates this in certain cases. Additionally, many employers have a commitment to safety, so these firms may have even stricter requirements for those who work there.

No matter what industry or what job you have, it is important that you follow safety apparel guidelines. Not only does it protect you from danger–it may be required by law!

Casual Employee Uniforms

Many employees look forward to Casual Fridays. It is the perfect opportunity for employees to shed their stiff business suits or khaki pants and dress shirts in favor of something comfortable, cozy, and filled with personality.

Casual Fridays, or Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, are a weekly favorite, but what if as a business you could provide your employees with the option to take part in ‘casual’ workdays every day? Companies and businesses can with the introduction of imprinted apparel as a part of their employee uniform.

Casual Employee Uniforms Create a Sense of Professionalism

A casual employee uniform is more than just providing a sense of comfort to employees; it is about creating a sense of professionalism. Businesses need to present a uniform, professional image to customers in order to gain trust and a casual uniform achieves that goal.

Casual uniforms can be made out of crisp, high quality materials that make them appear almost as if they are as professional as a business suit or dress shirt, but without the stiff, uncomfortable feel. Materials, such as silk fibers or microfiber, provide businesses with the option to choose apparel that looks clean, crisp and professional.

Options Available for Casual Employee Uniforms

There is a considerable number of shirt styles available for businesses to choose from in an effort to create a casual employee uniform. Short and long sleeved t-shirts, polo shirts, and button down shirts are available. For the colder months, sweaters, zippered jackets, and hoodies can also be incorporated into a business’s casual uniform dress code.

In addition to having the ability to choose the style of shirts, businesses can also have control over the color of the clothing. Casual apparel comes in a variety of colors ranging from bright, vibrant shades to subtle, earth tones. Businesses can make their company recognizable to customers by trying to pick a color theme that represents their business.

Ability to Imprint Logos, Events, and Business Names on Apparel

The real key to creating a casual business uniform that looks professional is having some sort of logo or emblem that identifies the employees as representatives of a business. Casual employee uniforms can have this done by imprinting the company name or logo onto the shirt.

Businesses can purchase blank, solid colored t-shirts, sweatshirts, or polo shirts and then opt to have a logo, business name, or other picture imprinted on the apparel. The logo can be printed on the shirt sleeve, back, or pocket.

Boost employee morale by making every day casual Friday by incorporating a casual employee uniform into the dress code.

Be comfortable and casual everyday.L502_K502_Model_GA13

Debunking the Myths Surrounding Preshrunk T-Shirts

Many individuals are confused when they see a label that states a t-shirt has been preshrunk. They automatically think that the shirt has been completely washed and dried, which would eliminate any possibility of having it shrink during future washings. Unfortunately, that is a myth and we are here to debunk the myth surrounding preshrunk t-shirts.

The term preshrunk actually describes an entire process that the fabric has gone through before being made into the t-shirt that you are wearing. The following is a closer look at what exactly ‘preshrunk’ means and the process the fabric goes through before being used to create a shirt.

Fabrics Naturally Want to Shrink

All natural and synthetic fabrics have a natural tendency to want to shrink when they are washed. This is because the fibers of the fabric will want to tighten up and bunch together. This tightening action results in entire fabric shrinking, which results in a change in the overall shape and size of the article of clothing.

The Preshrinking Process

Seeing the term ‘preshrunk’ may automatically bring up images of having the t-shirt washed and dried before it is sold, but it actually implies the use of a process that is known as preshrinking.

The preshrinking process involves placing the fabric that is used to create the t-shirt through a processing machine. The processing machine will force the fibers of the fabric to group together and tighten. When the fibers of the fabric are grouped together, it will eliminate the possibility of the shirt shrinking when it is washed.

Do the Preshrunk Shirts Never Shrink When Washed?

There is a common belief that preshrunk shirts will never shrink in the wash. This, unfortunately, is not true. Preshrunk shirts can, and sometimes will, shrink in the wash.

The preshrinking process will eliminate the possibility of a t-shirt shrinking in the wash, but it will not completely prevent any shrinkage. The t-shirt could shrink in the future, but the shrinkage will be very minimal. It is believed that the shrinkage is only about 3-7% of the size of the t-shirt, which would barely impact the fit of the shirt.

Why Many T-Shirts are Preshrunk Before Being Sold?

T-shirts are often preshrunk because it eliminates any type of guess work out of choosing a t-shirt size. If a t-shirt is a large, it most likely will not shrink in the wash to a medium or small. This makes it easier for people to choose a shirt that will fit them without fear that the clothing will shrink and not be able to be worn in the future.

Next time you are looking at a t-shirt label and notice the term ‘preshrunk’, you will be able to understand exactly what it means and how it impacts the t-shirt you are purchasing.

shruken t-shirt

Dye Sublimation Printing for T-Shirts

Companies or individuals looking to capture people’s attention may want to do so with clothing that makes a colorful impression. T-shirts that are created with bright, vibrant full-printed photos can be eye-catching and attention grabbing.

Full-printed garments, especially t-shirts, are made possible with a printing process known as dye sublimation printing. Dye sublimation printing, or dye sublimation for short, allows full photographic images to be printed or transferred to a t-shirt or other garment. Some in the shirt printing industry call this process ‘all around printing.’

The following is a look at the process that is used during dye sublimation printing and why it is becoming a popular choice for t-shirts.

What is Dye Sublimation Printing?

Dye sublimation printing is a complex printing process that essentially takes a photographic image and transfers it to the entire shirt. The image often takes up the whole shirt, as opposed to a smaller logo or design located above the shirt pocket.

The process for dye sublimation printing is fairly time consuming. The desired photo, image, or artwork must first be taken and printed onto specialty paper. This is done using a special printer that will print the image onto large sheets of paper.

Once the images or artwork have been transferred to the specialty paper, they will then be transferred to the t-shirts. Transferring the images and artwork to the t-shirt requires the use of a special pressure machine called a heat transfer press. These presses reach the extremely high temperatures that are required to help transfer the images onto the t-shirts. This is typically 375-380 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is a heat press:

sublimation printing

How is an Image Transferred from Paper to the T-Shirt?

Images are transferred with a heat press as seen above. The extremely high temperatures these machines reach that will convert the dye on the paper into a gas. Once the dye is converted to a gas, it can be transferred to the t-shirt. The shirt will be placed on the botton with the sublimation printed transfer paper on top. The gas will instantly ‘bond’ with the fibers of the fabric resulting in the transferred image. At this point the design will very likely last as long as the shirt itself.

Why is Dye Sublimation Printing Becoming So Popular?

Dye sublimation printing has been around for a number of years, but it wasn’t until recently that it started to become popular. There are a number of reasons why it has increased in popularity.

Some of the reasons for dye sublimation printing’s popularity include:

  • No two images are alike, each t-shirt is considered unique as the process is never the same
  • Garments are soft, as the dye is absorbed by the fabric and does not sit on top of it
  • Bright, vibrant colors and images can be transferred to t-shirts
  • Details will not be lost during transfer of the images to the shirts

Understanding what dye sublimation printing is and why it is popular can help you determine if it is the right choice for your t-shirt printing needs. Check out our Jerzees Sport 100% Polyester t-shirt made especially this type of printing.

Port Authority Apparel for All Occasions

Customers and businesses looking for high quality, professional looking apparel can turn to the vast inventory of clothing available through Port Authority. Port Authority Apparel is a high-end apparel manufacturer that focuses on creating a variety of clothing and accessories that are ideal for use as company uniforms, casual attire, and everything in between.

Not to be confused with the Port Authority, which is the governmental division responsible for overseeing transportation and shipping in ports/cities all across Canada and the United States; Port Authority clothing is something completely different.

Port Authority is well-known for manufacturing ‘blank’ apparel that is ideal for use as promotional attire or company uniforms. The blank apparel, manufactured under the brand collection Port Authority, comes in a variety of colors and is designed in such a way that company logos, pictures, or business names can be imprinted on the garments. These images can be imprinted almost anywhere on the apparel from the shirt sleeve, to the back of the shirt or on the pocket.

Company uniforms, whether casual short-sleeve t-shirts or formal, button down business shirts, need to look neat, clean, and professional. No matter how a company logo or business name is placed on the apparel, if the actual garments themselves are not made of a high quality and professional looking material, the image of the company could be in jeopardy.

Port Authority apparel, under its brand collection titled Port Authority Signature, has a vast selection of apparel made out of high quality materials and fabrics. Apparel ranging from jackets and shirts, to windbreakers is made out of silk blended fabric, elegant microfiber, or even leather.

Everyday casual attire can be found in the Port Authority’s Port & Company collection. Creating clothing for children, teens, men and women, the Port & Company collection specializes in offering solid colored, high quality apparel at prices the whole family can afford. The apparel ranges in styles from t-shirts that are perfect for casual wardrobes to polo shirts and long-sleeve button down shirts that can be used for creating semi-formal or business outfits.

Apparel for children, women, and men are not the only items Port Authority creates. Port Authority also creates a number of accessories that are fashionable, yet practical. The items come in a variety of solid colors and some can be imprinted with initials, names or company logos. Blankets, backpacks, duffle bags, and towels are just some of the many accessories that Port Authority creates.Port Authority

5 Tips When Creating a Promotional Shirt

Whether you own a retail establishment and want to get your name out there or you have a cause near and dear to your heart, one excellent way of sharing your message is by ordering promotional t-shirts. You can outfit yourself, staff and friends in these shirts, sell them to customers or give them away and gain free advertising each time someone decides to pair one of these shirts with a pair of jeans. However, not every t-shirt promotion is met with success. These five simple tips will assure your program is a worthwhile investment. And now our 5 tips when creating a promotional shirt.

  • Quality is Key – No matter how attractive your logo, if it is printed on a boxy, ill-fitting or uncomfortable shirt, you will have a hard time convincing people to wear it. Additionally, a low-quality shirt can make your brand appear cheap or inferior.
  • Make it Fun – The best promotional shirts don’t feel like a promotion. If your shirt looks like a giveaway, it will not achieve the level of appreciation you hope it may. Think about The Hard Rock Café. Visitors to the restaurant pay $25 to wear a t-shirt that advertises the brand. While you may not achieve that level of success, think about making a shirt that customers will want to wear.
  • Offer Options – Not everyone wears a men’s medium or large. Think about offering women’s sizes, sizes ranging up to 2XL and other options as needed. This way, anyone who may want to wear your design will find one that fits.
  • Colors – While you want to create a shirt that utilizes the colors of your brand, think about making them wearable. While your brand utilize a bright yellow and red design, perhaps it would be better to offer a grey or black shirt with yellow and red logo—instead of making the shirt itself a bright yellow.
  • Work With Experts – Not every company that prints these shirts is in the t-shirt promotion business. Find a company that knows what it takes to create shirts that will wow everyone who sees them.

As you can see, there are many things you need to consider before you place an order for promotional t-shirts. If you have any questions or concerns about your t-shirt promotion program, or want to discuss your ideas, give us a call or contact us online at your logo here

A Weighty Issue – The Basics of Tee Shirt Weights

A t-shirt is a t-shirt, right? Actually, no. Anyone who wears t-shirts regularly knows that some t-shirts are just more comfortable than others. While some of what makes a t-shirt comfortable is the way it fits or the way it is cut, much of how good it feels is determined by the weight and make-up of the shirt itself. Understanding a bit more about the different weights that are available and what the weights mean will make it easier for you to choose a shirt that fits your needs perfectly.

With shirts, there is a numerical weight attached to them. The most common weights range between 5.1 and 6.1 ounces. The weight refers to what one-yard of the fabric weighs—not the shirt itself—so the weight/feel is standard across all sizes of shirts. That is because logically an extra-large shirt will weigh more than a small would.

It used to be that when you were comparing quality of t-shirts, heavier was better. In certain applications, this is still true. A heavy shirt is excellent for use on a job site where a thicker shirt is less likely to tear or rip. However, for everyday use—especially in a high-fashion screen printed shirt—many people prefer the feel of a lightweight, thin shirt. These are becoming increasingly popular. One of the lightweight shirts making a big splash is the Perfect Weight Tee by District Made.

A thinner shirt often feels better on the skin and is made from a higher-quality blend of materials. As a general rule, the thinner shirts are less likely to shrink than the thick ones are. It is very important to understand this when purchasing shirts. If you are buying a heavy-duty shirt for use on a work site, it may be best to buy up a size to account for shrinkage.

When purchasing shirts, a lot of the decision all boils down to personal preference. Spend some time looking over the weights and shirts available here at If you have any questions about the weight or other purchasing issues, feel free to call or contact us and let one of our t-shirt experts help you make the right decision. After all, there are not many articles of clothing that are as comfortable and durable as a good t-shirt, so it only makes sense to choose one that you will enjoy wearing for years to come.T-Shirt

A Guide to Hats, Caps and Headwear

In this post we provide you a guide to hats, caps and headwear. In this entry we first explore the origin and uses of hats. In the second section we unlock the mystery between the various types of baseball caps. Ever wonder why the world needs so many different types of caps? Just what is the difference between low profile and high profile, what is a structured cap and so on? This is your guide to hats, caps and headwear.

Hats have been around for hundreds of years and their uses and styles are as varied as the options at your local buffet. There are hundreds of different styles of hats but the most popular hat these days is the baseball hat. Hats can be made of cotton, polyester, straw, felt and many more materials.

Brief History

The first known evidence of hats appears in drawings from Ancient Greece. Most of the early hats were worn by the higher society individuals or the wealthy. These people would have their very own hat makers known as a “milliner” – named after Milan Italy – where the best hats were made in the 18th century. Most milliners from that era were women. Early hats were an indicator of Military rank or occupation as can still be seen all over the world today. Among the most famous hat makers in the United States is John B. Stetson of the Stetson hat company. They are responsible for creating what most of us recognize as the Cowboy hat. In some cases hats are required attire at many horse races and formal events. These are among the last places where you will find very high end and extravagant hats. Hats have a deep history and have changed a lot over the generations. It used to be in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s people would never leave the house without a hat. The men would don a dress hat similar to a fedora or a Cabbie Hat and the women would wear something more extravagant that was often decorated with lace or flowers or combinations of similar accessories. As we entered into the 1960’s the custom of wearing hats every time you left the house faded. Now a days you will most commonly grab a baseball cap if you are leaving the house with a hat.

Have a look at a Stetson hat being made:


Hats have a great variety of uses. We have already discussed the hats that identify members of the military. There are also hats for occupations such as a baker’s hat, also known as a Toque. Then there are hard hats made of hard plastic to protect construction workers from falling debris. The bishops and Pope of the Roman Catholic Church wear a Mitre, while we may wear a knit beanie in the winter to protect against the cold or a sun hat in the summer to product us from the sun. A baseball player would wear a baseball cap as part of his uniform and to identify his team while I, as a fan, would wear the same hat to show my support. These are just a small sampling of all the uses for hats.

Baseball cap

The Baseball cap is so popular across the world that it deserves special attention. A baseball cap is a soft, rounded-top hat with a stiff bill coming off the front. Almost all baseball caps are made of cotton, brushed-cotton to be exact. This is something most people don’t know. The brushed-cotton looks like canvas and has similar properties to it but it is really just the process of making the hat hold up a little better. True baseball caps have the team logo on the front of them and are part of the official uniform but in this instance they do not need to have a logo as we are referring to the Baseball cap as a style of hat and not specifically for the sport. Most Baseball caps these days are worn causally as opposed to being for the game. Baseball hats can be fitted, which is solid all the way around with some flex in them or can be adjustable. In 1860 the Baseball team Brooklyn Excelsior wore the first of what resembled today’s modern Baseball hat. In 1940 rubber latex was added to the inside of the hat to give it more structure than the previously unstructured Baseball caps. This gave rise to what we now know as the modern Baseball cap.

Features of the hat:

Hats have many features that are for both style and function. These can be important to know in choosing the right hat for your project. There are a few basic features found in any hat. They are Crown, Peak, Brim and hatband. The crown of the hat is the rounded main section of the hat that covers the head. We also refer to this as the bell. The peak or bill is the stiff portion of the hat coming off the front to shade the eyes. A brim is also a projection but it covers the circumference of the hat. You will find a brim in a fishing or sun hat. The sweatband is a band that runs around the circumference of the inside of the hat for comfort and protection against sweating.

What are the differences in Baseball Caps?

  • Structured vs. unstructured:
    The shape and structure are possibly the most important. In a baseball style hat you have the options of a structured or unstructured. The best way to think of this is a structured hat will keep its shape when taken off and set on a table. An unstructured hat will not keep its shape and will more or less flop when placed on a table; the crown has a “stiffer feel.”
  • Profile – low to high:
    Another important feature of these hats is the profile. The easiest way to think of profile is how far off your forehead the hat comes. A low profile hat will hug your forehead on up to the top of the hat. A mid profile hat will come off your forehead just a bit and a high profile hat will stick up quite a bit off the top of your head. Professional style baseball hats are high profile and structured.
  • Type of Closure:
    The next part of the cap is the closure – this is found on the back of the hat and is also known as an opening. There are two basic types of caps in this regard, fitted and adjustable. A fitted cap does not have an adjustment but comes in 2 or 3 sizes, using a form of elastic insert to allow the sweatband to expand or contract to fit different sized heads. Adjustable closures apply to hats that you can adjust. The most common closure is Hook and Loop. Hook and loop is just like Velcro but many manufacturers are not using the trademarked Velcro so they have to use the words hook and loop to describe it. The next closure is the slide buckle closure. This involves a few pieces of fabric and a brass slide buckle that can be used to tighten or loosen the back of the hat. This is just like a belt you would wear to hold up your pants. The final of the common closures is the snap back closure. This is a plastic strap with little button that can be adjusted and snapped into holes on the other side of the closure. Many people will know this closure from the back of a Trucker Hat.Here is an example of a snap back closure:
    snapback hat
  • Color combinations:
    Most commonly, caps are solid colors, meaning the entire cap is of a single color. Sandwich bill caps will have a contrasting color on just the outer rim of the brim; this contrasting color is “sandwiched” between the top and bottom brim color, which is the same color as the rest of the cap. (link example). Two-tone caps will have one color on the crown and a different color on the brim or just the underside of the brim. (link example) Trucker or mesh caps have a different style of crown, where the back half or in some cases the entire crown is made of an open weave or mesh, which allows more flow of air to the head. (link example)
  • Panels:
    The final in the list of features are the panels. The most common baseball style hat is a 6-panel hat. Panels are sections or segments of fabric sewn together to make-up the hat, similar to segments of an orange. There are mainly just the 6-panel hat and the 5-panel hat, where the front of the hat as one solid, larger panel instead of two panels.

Here is a man wearing a Fedora hat.
man wearing fedora

As you can see hats have a long and rich history and are more popular than ever. While many hat styles are less formal than they used to be we feel that the options for hats are great. We carry brands from New Era, Port Authority, District Threads and Nike. Come see Outlet Shirts for all of your hat needs.

How the Textile Industry Came to Be

The textile industry is one of the oldest yet fastest-growing industries in the world; after all, clothing is one of the primary commodities that every person on Earth needs to own. Textile manufacturers do a very good job today producing high quality materials from both synthetic and natural fibers that are offered to the general public. Textile producers, however, did not have an easy trail to follow leading to their success.

Its history

While a lot of struggling people were immigrating to America to start a new life, a small group of these people stood at the forefront and led America through its Industrial Revolution. This group of textile entrepreneurs invented power-driven machinery and developed business enterprises to produce products that had previously been made in low volume in homes and small shops, leading to a factory boom.

The industrialization of textile manufacturing began in the late 1700s in Great Britain when Richard Arkwright invented the “spinning frame” that could turn raw cotton into a mass produced yarn.

spinning wheel

An early Spinning Frame

However, it wasn’t until 1790 that the industry began to spread widely to the United States. This movement can largely be credited to an English-born businessman named Samuel Slater. At the age of 21, Slater had worked in a textile factory for six years and had learned the mechanical details of Arkwright’s machine. He carried this knowledge with him as he ventured out of his country and onto the American shores, confident that he could reinvent the spinning frame and make a fortune for himself.

When he arrived in Providence, Rhode Island, he formed a partnership with the textile-manufacturing firm of Almy & Brown. Slater built the spinning frame based on the Arkwright model just from the details he had memorized. Its first use was on December 20, 1790 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where the waters of the Blackstone River turned the wheels of the mill. The success of Slater’s mill revolutionized the textile industry in America, which up to that point was dependent on cottage workers to produce yarn and thread.

slater mill

Slater Mill Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Because of this innovation, factories in the US began to multiply rapidly, earning Slater the title of “The Father of the American Factory System” as well as “The Father of the American Industrial Revolution.” By 1815, there were already 165 cotton mills operating in New England. These early mills were not large-scale, so New England merchants continued to utilize home workers to weave some of the yarn into cloth for some time after Slater’s innovation.

This video shows an early spinning frame in action at the Slater Mill.

The spawning of other products

The beginning of the 18th century marked the production of textiles made with wool from sheep farms across the midlands in Britain. More than a quarter of the British exports during that time were from the export trade in woolen goods, doubling between 1701 and 1770. Another textile industry that invested in cotton centered in Lancashire showed remarkable growth during that time, although it did not equal the huge value of the woolen trade. Before the start of the 17th century, only individual workers manufactured a somewhat limited number of goods, which were distributed around the country.

In the early 18th century, artisans started to find alternative materials to produce products. They were using silk, wool, fustian, and linen, but all were eventually overcome by cotton, which became the most important textile of the time.

Cotton was first imported into northern Europe in the late medieval period. At the time people did not have any knowledge of where it came from. They associated the material with wool, noting their similarities, they conceptualized that plant-borne sheep must produce it. It was later called “tree wool.” Even Christopher Columbus in his explorations of the Bahamas and Cuba in the late 1400’s, found natives wearing cotton garments. During the late 16th century, cotton became more and more popular as it was cultivated in the warmer regions of Asia and America.

The production of cloth involves not only the growing and harvesting of the fiber or raw material, but the product must then be prepared and spun into thread or yarn, and finally weaving the yarn into cloth. Thereafter, the cloth will be taken to the garment manufacturer. Preparation of fiber will depend on the fiber used, but it can involve retting and dressing. Wool needs to be carded and washed. Spinning and weaving can be similarly done to fibers, as well. Spinning is done by twisting the fibers by hand using a drop spindle or a spinning wheel.

The industry’s forerunners

Eli Whitney invented the modern mechanical cotton gin, which quickly separates the cotton fibers from their seeds, in 1793.
cotton gin

Cotton Gin on Display the Eli Whitney Museum

Here is a brief video history of Eli Whitney and his impact on the textile world:

It was in 1813 that the New England factory systems started to take off when Frances Cabot Lowell, Nathan Appleton, and Patrick Johnson established the Boston Manufacturing Company and opened their first factory, wherein workers operated spinning and weaving machinery. This enabled the home-based workers to shift their jobs from their homes to the factories. Fifteen years later, the company started adding branches throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. By 1840, the Boston Manufacturing Company had gained a great deal of popularity, as others tried to copy their corporate model.

boston manufacturing

Boston Manufacturing Company on the Charles River, Waltham, Massachusetts

Lowell and his team hoped to change the ways of the British industry. Building their facilities in Massachusetts, he hired young and unwed women from the farms of New England. Known as the “mill girls”, they were strictly chaperoned by matrons who established curfews and a stringent moral code for the girls to follow. The mill girls worked 12 hours per day, 6 days per week. Although it was a tedious job, most of the girls enjoyed the independence the mill gave them, in contrast to how they had lived on the farm. Moreover, the wages rose to triple the rate for a domestic servant at the time.

It was also during this time when leaders such as William Gregg of South Carolina established a home-based textile industry, which was resisted by the northern mills. After the Civil War, the south slowly replaced the use of slaves with regular workers. Edwin Michael Holt and his family in North Carolina built a number of mills all over the south at the end of the 19th century, including Glencoe Cotton Mill and mill village, which are still preserved to this day.

Later on, merchants such as the Marshall Fields of Chicago acquired and built mills of their own (Cone Mills and Fieldcrest Mills) so as to better control and regulate the supply.

As World War I took place, several new companies emerged to satisfy the war demand. After the war, imported machinery from Germany and Switzerland started to replace domestic supply.

During the late 19th century, the Made in the USA began to be replaced by a new world order. Because many textile manufacturers aimed to buy from the producers with the lowest cost, most textile companies considered importing from other countries.

Today’s industry

As the 20th century approached, major changes came to the textile industry as innovations allowed textile machinery to create synthetic fiber such as rayon and nylon, which is used in products ranging from pantyhose to toothbrushes.

Acetate was invented in the 1920s. A decade later, polyester and acrylic were introduced. Polyester became more popular in the Unites States than cotton for some time during that century.

By the early 20th century, globalization also led to the outsourcing of textile manufacturing to overseas markets. This created a trend of focusing on white-collar industries for fashion design and retail.

An apparel distributor, Outlet Shirts, specializes itself in the screen-printing and embroidery industry as well as blank apparel. It provides well over 1500 products from brands such as Port Authority Apparel, Port and Company, Eddie Bauer, Nike Golf, Sport-Tek and more. Offering a large selection of wholesale t-shirts, polo shirts, woven, outerwear, ladies styles and many more. Its products are available either blank or embellished with your company or group logo. Its low prices and generous discounts, also includes free shipping starting at $125, will make it easy for any customer to save more without sacrificing quality or service.

The textile industry has come a long way from just old-fashioned machines and factories. It has developed greatly over time, paving the way for companies who produce quality products for their customers. Today, it has become a very essential industry the world could not live without.