For half a century, under the stewardship of Ambalal Sarabhai, the Calico Mills became one of the most modern and extensively diversified pacesetters of the Indian cotton industry. Calico was the first Indian mill to give shareholders cloth at concessional rates. It was the first Indian textile mill to make cotton sewing thread, and later 100% synthetic sewing thread.
Calico main textile unit was the only textile plant in Ahmedabad to be fuelled by natural gas, with virtually no smoke and no air pollution. To minimize water pollution, Calico had its own primary effluent processing plant, which ensured that no waste was thrown directly into municipal sewers.
Calico erected India’s first Diamond Mesh Mosquito Netting plant in 1937, another first in India. In 1947, it diversified into chemicals, the manufacture of Caustic Soda, Chlorine and related products. Calico also erected India’s first PVC plant. In 1974, Calico commissioned its Polyester Fibre Plant in collaboration with ICI, (UK), producing four exclusive grades of Polyester Fibres, besides three superior conventional grades.
- Summit Khanna (2010-04-25). "Calico Mills passes into history for Rs270 crore - India". Daily News & Analysis India. Diligent Media Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- Jan Breman (2004). The making and unmaking of an industrial working class: sliding down the labour hierarchy in Ahmedabad, India. Amsterdam University Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-90-5356-646-6. Retrieved 28 January 2012.