Chatham Manufacturing Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Chatham Manufacturing Company-Western Electric Company
Chatham Manufacturing Company is located in North Carolina
Chatham Manufacturing Company
Chatham Manufacturing Company is located in the US
Chatham Manufacturing Company
Location 750 & 800 Chatham Rd., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Coordinates 36°6′17″N 80°15′18″W / 36.10472°N 80.25500°W / 36.10472; -80.25500
Area 6 acres (2.4 ha)
Built 1907 (1907)
NRHP Reference # 11000509[1]
Added to NRHP August 4, 2011

Chatham Manufacturing Company (now True Textiles, Inc.) is a textile mill located in Elkin, North Carolina and is one of the oldest in North Carolina.


The mill was established in the late 1860s by Alexander Chatham and Thomas L. Gwyn. In 1890, the railroad line was completed in Elkin and Chatham and Gwyn enlarged their company, Elkin Mills. Alexander Chatham would later retire from the company and Gwyn would sell his interest in the company to Chatham's son, Hugh Gwyn Chatham. By 1894 the company would be renamed Chatham Manufacturing Company with Hugh Gwyn Chatham as its president. Richard Thurmond Chatham assumed the presidency in 1929.[2]

The second Chatham Mill, built in 1893.


A second factory would be built in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1907 and expanded through 1951. The factory complex consists of a series of interconnected one to five-story heavy timber frame, brick, steel, and concrete industrial buildings. The complex also includes a coal trestle (1907); two small buildings erected in the 1940s (a brick fire pump house and a concrete block workshop); an electrical substation (1948-1954); and a one-story brick office building (1937). The Chatham Manufacturing Company consolidated its operations at Elkin in 1940, and the Winston-Salem plant was subsequently purchased by the United States Government. It was occupied by National Carbon Company (1943-1945) and Western Electric (1946-1966), who manufactured equipment for the United States military.[3]

The Winston-Salem complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.[1]

During the first part of the century the primary focus of company sales were blankets but by the 1930s the company started producing automotive upholstery. By the 1980s the company had plants located in Eden, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina along with the Elkin plant.


In 1988, family members and senior management of the company were outbid by the Danish textile firm, Northern Feather. The purchase of the company by Northern Feather would end the 100 year reign the family had over the company. Northern Feather would go bankrupt soon after and the company would be sold to Columbia, South Carolina based CMI Industries, in 1992. Eight years later in 2000, Interface, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia would purchase the commercial portion of Chatham Manufacturing and combine many textile mills in the United States into what was called Interface Fabric Group, and later, InterfaceFABRIC. In 2008 the company was sold to Sun Capital Partners, a capital investment firm, and renamed True Textiles, Inc.[4][5] True Textiles continues to use the Chatham facility in Elkin, North Carolina. The residential consumer products portion of Chatham Manufacturing was purchased by Stevens Westpoint in 2000.[6]


  1. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties. National Park Service. 2011-08-12. 
  2. ^ Heather Fearnbach (March 2014). "Thurmond and Lucy Chatham House" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  3. ^ Heather Fearnbach (March 2011). "Chatham Manufacturing Company-Western Electric Company" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  4. ^ Retrieved 15 October 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help)
  5. ^ Goulette, Tom. "Guilford, Maine". Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  6. ^


External links[edit]

  • Powell, William S., The North Carolina Gazetteer: A Dictionary of Tar Heel Places, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0-8078-1247-1
  • Powell, William S., Encyclopedia of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0-8078-3071-0

Coordinates: 36°14′42″N 80°50′41″W / 36.2449°N 80.8447°W / 36.2449; -80.8447

  1. ^ "Stevens Wespoint Purchases Chatham". Retrieved 1 December 2014.  External link in |website= (help)