Notable Ribbon Manufacturers

Domestically manufactured ribbons

A partial list of silk manufactures producing ribbons:

  • [name yet unknown] in Baltimore – First manufacture of silk ribbons in 1829
  • Mansfield Silk Company, Mansfield, Connecticut – Company established 1827/8.
  • Messrs. Horstmann and Sons  in Philadelphia – Son of William Horstmann from Germany began manufacturing narrow goods on Jacquard looms in 1837/8.
  • Thomas C. McRae & Co in New York City – produced silk ribbons from 1852 to 1866. Produced approx. $15,000 worth of ribbons in 1855. (“The State census of New York, for the same year [1855]…. And two ribbon mills, whose product was the value of $15,900, all but $900 of which was the product of one mill in the city.)
  • The New England Silk Company in Dedham, Massachusetts –
  • ________ Boston, Massachusetts – Had a ribbon loom which wove 12 ribbons at one time run by one person.
  • Messieurs Plymton, Stevenson and Company in West Newton, Connecticut – Company possibly connected to one in Boston at the same time. They produced their ribbon on a braid-loom with a Jacquard attachment. In 1860, they produced $118,000 worth of fancy silk goods. In 1855 they produced $38,000 worth of ribbons and dress trimmings.
  • Phoenix Silk Manufacturing Company in Paterson, New Jersey – Began by Mr. Tilt in 1862/3
  • Dexter, Lambert, & Co. – organized in Boston in 1855. Moved to Paterson, New Jersey 1876.
  • Samuel Bertchy & Co. in New York. – Established 1856, making narrow goods. Began making millinery ribbons in 1866.
  • Towles, Tallerman & Co. in Baltimore, Maryland – Established in 1861 making ribbons. Became the Monumental Silk Works and Silk Manufacturing Company after 1870. Mill burned in 1873.
  • Strange & Brother in Paterson, New Jersey – Established in 1863. Became one of the largest silk ribbon manufactures in the 1870s.
  • Werner Itschner & Co. in Philadelphia – Began ribbon manufacture in 1864. Moved to Germantown in 1865.


Foreign manufactured ribbons

  • Coventry, England – The next largest producer in silk ribbon following the US, according to Cowdin is England. “Then comes England, whose trade in Continental silk fabrics has greatly augmented since the last treaty of commerce with France.”
  • Crenfeld & Elberfeld,  Prussia – Several manufactures in that area.
  • St. Etienne (Loire) France – While Lyons, France seems to be that country’s center for silk manufacture, St. Etienne is the ribbon manufacturing center.
  • The Canton of Bale, Switzerland (Bale is French; Basel or Basle is English.
  • Guabwiller, Alsace – “It was at Guabwiller, in Alsace, that steam was first employed in the manufacture of ribbons. One may see there a model ribbon factory, which employs 600 persons, and contains 200 looms, driven by a steam engine of 30 horse power.” (Elliot C. Cowdin Report to the Department of State on Silk and Silk Manufactures)

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