Monday, January 7, 2008

new markets

Live by the river, work at the Mill, rest on the hill. Mr. Nick Gianniny, weaving department foreman is buried in Riverview Cemetery, within sight of his home and workplace.

If diversity of product and improved quality were only undercurrents in the history of the Charlottesville mill during the seventies, in the woolen industry as a whole they proved the keynote. During the next decade, as we shall see later, the Charlottesville Woolen Mills embraced this movement and went even further. It began to specialize its production and to acquire a particular kind of market. When that was accomplished, the mill had completed the typical cycle of expansion in the American wool manufacture.

The company meanwhile did not wait long to strike out for a growing market. Expanding early into southeastern and southwestern Virginia, subsequent attempts were aimed first at the Southern market. By 1877 a firm grip had been secured in Virginia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. Thereafter, a thrust was made into the North and within three years Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Indiana could be counted among the areas covered by salesmen. --Harry Poindexter

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Friday, December 28, 2007

style changes

"Mr. Nick" Gianniny, with his wife Daisy Estelle, c. 1958, R.N. Gianniny was foreman of the Charlottesville Woolen Mills weaving department from 1919 to 1942.

During the 1870's, a rising standard of living brought style changes which pushed satinets, kerseys, jeans, and broadcloths into the background. In their place fine cassimeres, cashmeres, meltons, and other smooth-finished cloths surged forward In importance with flannels ranking second. Marchant and his associates endeavored to meet this trend while retaining a foothold in the manufacture of coarser materials.--Harry Poindexter

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

a period of transition

1600 Woolen Mills Road, "Mr. Nick" Gianniny's house

We have already noted that small pre-war textile mills outside New England generally marketed a coarse grade of cloth for home consumption and processed wool for home weaving under a primitive barter system. This pattern was for a short period continued after 1869 by the Charlottesville Woolen Mills. Soon, however, satinets, kerseys, flannels, and smooth doeskin cassimeres flowed from the factory. But except for the appearance of fine cassimeres, these fabrics were typical products of mills oriented toward a rural economy. Actually, the seventies proved to be a period of transition, with the Charlottesville plant swinging slowly into the manufacture of finer cloths and a widely diversified output.
--Harry Poindexter

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