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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND WORSTED MILL CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The CLEVELAND WORSTED MILL CO. was one of the largest worsted mills in the country by 1920. The firm originally grew out of the family-owned Turner Worsted Mill, founded by Joseph Turner in 1878. When the Turner mill failed in 1893, KAUFMAN HAYES† and Geo. H. Hodgson were called in to manage the firm. Oliver M. Stafford succeeded Joshua Turner as president in the late 1890s and, together with Hodgson, reorganized it as the Cleveland Worsted Mill in 1902. Located at 6114 Broadway, the Cleveland plant handled every operation from scouring and sorting wool to boiling the cloth. Cleveland Worsted eventually controlled 11 plants in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Ohio. It was an important local employer for more than 70 years, hiring CZECHS, POLES, and LITHUANIANS to work in the mill.

During World War II, the company refused to accept government orders and stockpiled woolens for civilian use. When the government retaliated by padlocking the warehouses of woolens, the company agreed to run 41 looms of uniform serge for every 1 loom of civilian fabrics. Cleveland Worsted's installation of the WARNER & SWASEY CO. power loom in the 1950s greatly increased worker productivity. Despite advances in technology, the company faced competition from textile plants in the South and from synthetic fibers. After a bitter strike over union recognition, Louis O. Poss, the president, closed the plant on Broadway in 1956 as well as other Ohio locations rather than acknowledge the union victory.

On 4 July 1993 a fire destroyed the Worsted Mills complex which, in the interim, had become a warehouse for small companies.

Cleveland Worsted Mill Co. The Clothing of the People (1922).

Cleveland City Directories, 1878-1957.

Finding aid for the Cleveland Worsted Mills Company Records. WRHS.
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2012 10:06:46 AM

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