Klots Throwing Company records1896-1918 bulk 1905-1914
The Klots Throwing Company was one of the largest silk manufacturers in the United States, incorporated in Pennsylvania in 1894. The collection consists of only fragmentary records from the Mills at Scranton, Carbondale, Archbald, and Forest City in the Lackawanna Valley.
- bulk 1905-1914
- Klots Throwing Company. (Organization)
3.5 Linear Feet
The Klots Throwing Company was one of the largest silk manufacturers in the United States, incorporated in Pennsylvania in 1894. The business had been founded by Henry Durell Klots (1863-1914) and George Klots (1872-1916), silk throwsters, in New York City in the 1880s. The expansion of the company was largely the work of Marcus Frieder (1860-1940).
Frieder was born in Szinna, Hungary, on February 7, 1860, and demonstrated successful organizational and managerial skills before the age of twenty. In 1890 he emigrated to America and became a bookkeeper for the Klots brothers in New York. The New York mill burned in 1894, and at Frieder's suggestion the business was moved to Carbondale, Pennsylvania. This was part of a general movement of the silk industry into the anthracite and bituminous coal-mining fields, where the wives and daughters of the coal miners formed a large pool of untapped labor.
Frieder became manager of the Carbondale mill and later secretary-general manager of the company. On the death of Henry D. Klots in 1914, he succeeded to the presidency. Under Frieder's management, the Klots Throwing Company became one of the larger silk manufacturers in America. It built additional mills at Archbald, Scranton, and Forest City in the Pennsylvania anthracite region, at Cumberland and Lonaconing in the Maryland bituminous coal fields, and in Virginia and West Virginia.
Frieder helped to organize the Villa-Stearns Company, through which he began to import raw silk from China and Japan. He secured full control of Villa-Stearns in 1916 and changed its name to the General Silk Importing Company, Inc. From 1915 to 1921, the firm was the largest American importer and seller of raw silk.
Frieder expanded into New England in 1917, when he organized the National Spun Silk Company and built the largest spun silk mill in the United States at New Bedford, Massachusetts. He also acquired the General Fabrics Corporation, with a silk weaving mill in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in 1921 and established the General Silk Dyeing Company in New Bedford in 1926. In January 1927 the General Silk Corporation was formed as a holding and sales company for all of Frieder's operations. At its peak, Klots operated fourteen mills, had 6,000 employees, and annual sales of $50 million.
Frieder's business was greatly affected by the rise of rayon as a synthetic textile substitute for silk and, with the collapse of business in the Depression, the firm was forced into bankruptcy in 1932. Marcus Frieder and his son, Leonard Peter Frieder (1895-1972), reorganized the mills at Carbondale, Lonaconing, and Cumberland under the title of General Textile Mills, Inc. As the textile industry migrated southward, the firm absorbed the Hendrick Manufactung Company of Carbondale, a maker of perforated screens and filters founded by Eli E. Hendrick (1832-1909) in 1876. General Textile Mills, Inc., was renamed Gentex Corporation in July 1958 to reflect is new product lines.
Marcus Frieder died in New York on October 13, 1940. Leonard P. Frieder operated the business until his death in 1972.
Scope and Content
The records of the Klots Throwing Company are a collection of fragmentary material and represent only scattered records from the mills at Scranton, Carbondale, Archbald and Forest City prior to World War I and before Frieder's expansion of the firm.
The Correspondence series is arranged into six subseries: Carbondale Mill correspondence; Archbald Mill correspondence; Forest City Mill correspondence; New York Office correspondence; Scranton Mill correspondence; and Letterbook.
Carbondale mill correspondence primarily documents the incoming shipments of raw silk, the purchase of machinery, shipments to customers and customer complaints.
The Archbald, Forest City, and Scranton mill correspondence includes monthly production statements, lists of silk shipped, and tables of the number and classes of employees. There is also informatiion on total wage costs. Most employees lists are aggregates, and individuals are listed only in the Power and Maintenance Departments.
The New York correspondence consists of letters to Frieder at Carbondale from the New York office, usually from Vice President J. H. Britton and Treasurer George Klots. By 1913 the letters are addressed by Frieder in New York to G. d'Andelot Belin, the manager at Carbondale. These letters include production statements and a few discussions of operating problems.
A Letterpress copybook for 1918 records inspections for government orders during World War I.
The Account books series consists a bank statement ledger for 1910 to 1912. There is also a list of shipments from 1915 to 1916.
The Production book series includes a stock book for 1896 to 1898 lists outbound shipments of silk. Clearance books trace production by lots from the receipts of the bales of raw silk through the spinning process, with accompanying cost accounting.
Time books, apparently from the Carbondale mill, list individual workers arranged by trade, with hours worked, wage rates and monthly wage payments.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Gift of Gentex Corporation
- Klots Throwing Company. (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Klots Throwing Company records
- Christopher T. Baer
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