In the event you get pleasure from an exquisite Thanksgiving desk, sit up for a white marriage ceremony, baptismal, or just recognize the fantastic thing about lace curtains and linens, you would possibly owe greater than you assume to the Quaker Lace Firm.
The Quaker Lace Firm of Philadelphia was based in 1889 and began out because the Bromley Manufacturing Firm, based by the three sons of John Bromley. Mr. Bromley was an English carpet weaver who immigrated to Philadelphia within the 1840s and later turned the patriarch of one of many metropolis’s largest textile enterprises. To large-produce lace for America, the Bromleys dipped into the income they’d made on their carpet enterprise in England. This allowed them import not solely costly lace looms, but in addition the expert weavers to provide them from Nottingham, England. In 1894, they renamed the enterprise The Lehigh Manufacturing Firm, and moved into a formidable manufacturing complicated on the nook of 4th Avenue and Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. In a while, they opened one other manufacturing facility at 22nd and Lehigh, mentioned to be the biggest on the earth.
Lastly included because the Quaker Lace Firm in 1911, the agency shortly gained nationwide consideration because the nation’s lace trade chief. Q L’s potential to efficiently market machine-made lace as a trendy life-style for middle-class houses and girls’s fashions, made it a family title. By the early 1900’s, Quaker Lace got here near surpassing the regal place of Nottingham, the place from which they obtained their looms, weavers, and designers. One in every of their extra well-liked brochures proclaimed: “America has style and individuality that ought to discover expression in an American lace trade. Why not attempt to develop right here a extra excellent lace than that produced in Nottingham and Calais, the lace markets of the world?”
The success of Q L was due in massive to their potential to undertake to satisfy their middle-class clients’ needs for lace that was each luxurious and sturdy. Q L was successful, because the mechanization of lace-making supplied common Individuals the distinctive alternative to put on and beautify their houses with what was beforehand a luxurious merchandise. One other very profitable brochure invited the used of lace in trend, “…no a part of a girl’s wardrobe which is probably not beautified by means of Quaker Laces,” citing the “originality, authoritativeness and timeliness” of their designs.
One in every of their most admired designers lured away from the English and European industries, was designer Frederick Vessey. Recognizing the general public’s want for magnificence and sturdiness, the corporate launched one in all their most profitable brochures but, one which emphasised the technical options of Quaker Lace nets that allowed their curtains to withstand pulls, stretching, and distortion after washing with out dropping that important high quality of transparency.
In the course of the second world warfare, the general public’s buying energy and curiosity diminished. This was one in all many swings within the textile trade. As the marketplace for lace curtains continued to say no, the agency turned to producing sensible items like mosquito or camouflage netting for the navy. In 1932, it started its first manufacturing of lace tablecloths, a favourite post-war merchandise that will ceaselessly be related to Quaker Lace.
Quaker Lace was not shielded from the shifts within the textile trade, and within the late 1980s the Nottingham looms on the 4th and Lehigh manufacturing facility turned silent, because the manufacturing moved to vegetation in Lionville, Pa (Chester County), and Winthrop, Maine.
The Philadelphia Mill continued to function by bleaching, dying, slicing, and packaging the well-known Quaker Lace tablecloths and curtains. The Mill remained open largely as a consequence of their progressive chemical course of that allowed their tablecloths and curtains to face up to dozens of launderings with out dropping their form.
It was the closure of a considerable quantity of the shops that retailed the Quaker Lace merchandise that lastly pushed the corporate into chapter 11 in 1992.
The Quaker Lace rights, title and patterns have been bought by Lorraine Linens, which marketed their distinctive tablecloths and curtains till its personal chapter in 2007. The unique manufacturing plant of Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia, was deserted after the chapter and ultimately was destroyed by a devastating fireplace on September 19, 1994.
In 2003, the Julia de Burgos Center College was constructed on the location.
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