Thursday, January 17, 2008

quality was the forte of the mill

Hezekiah Harlow, courtesy of the Drumheller family

Newspaper comments during the decade always emphasized the superior quality of Charlottesville Woolen Mills fabrics and the need to encourage home industries. Quality rather than a favorable price differential was evidently the forte of the mill. One must infer that in the better grades of cloth the company was unable to undersell Northern competitors who were being squeezed by a depressed internal economy even though adequate protection had been extended under the 1867 tariff. Indeed, in 1878 the directors considered turning to a cheaper rather than a finer grade of product. Three years later, however, the picture had altered. Equipment for a steam brush and rotary press was installed to improve the finished cloth at no extra labor cost. And plans were matured for extensive expansion. As we shall see later, this optimistic program was blocked by a second disastrous fire.--Harry Poindexter

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