In 1888, Horatio Hathaway, founded the Hathaway Manufacturing Company at New Bedford, Massachusetts for the production of cotton textiles. Hathaway had been a China trader, profiting from whaling in the Pacific.
By 1917, the Hathaway Mills would grow to contain 108,000 ring and mule spindles and 3,400 looms  for the production of fine cotton goods, for which the humid seaside location of New Bedford was well suited.
By the 1960s, Berkshire Hathaway had declined to seven plants and 6,000 employees, but still annually produced one quarter of a billion yards of material that sold for more than $60 million. The assets, and a sizable amount of cash on the balance sheet, caught the eye of Warren Buffett, an up-and-coming but little-known investor from Omaha, Nebraska.
Buffett, who had founded Buffett Partnership Limited to make investments, started buying stock in Berkshire at $7.60 a share. He eventually paid an average of $14.86 a share, or a total of $14 million, and took control of the company on May 10, 1965.
In 1985, the last textile operations were shut down. A portion of the mills, including the former office building were torn down January 14, 2014.