Lonaconing Silk Mill history
order of threads was shipped to Havana, Cuba. The mills influence was international.
During the period leading up to World War II, major changes occurred in the employment status at the mill. During the first half of 1941, employment varied between 70 and 80 employees. Starting August 16, 1941, employment dropped to 27 employees. Throughout the fall of 1941, employment stayed under 20 employees. On the December 16-31 payroll, only 5 workers logged 380 hours. This continued throughout the month as well as into January of 1942. Starting the next month, February 1-15, 1942, 30 employees worked. Employment tripled by the March 16-31 pay period to a high of 94 employees. This was a sign of the increased industrial production the United States experienced during war-time.
As the war ended, changes continued to occur. In 1946, a third addition was added to the facility, and the mill began to run various synthetic materials. It was apparent, however, that by the late 1940s both employment and production were declining. A mill that once employed over 200 workers on 3 shifts was consistently employing less than 100. Many workers reported they could see the end coming in 1957. Antiquated equipment at the small mill made competition with larger, more efficient facilities, impossible. Decreasing consumer demand for silk was also a contributing factor in its decline. A labor dispute seems to have been the precipitating incident that actually closed the factory. Two interviews confirm the following sequences of events. Mill workers requested a pay raise that would bring parity with nearby Celanese textile workers. Wes Duckworth traveled to company headquarters 12
Chart of Women & Men Workers During Peace-Time and War-Time
Photograph: 2nd floor overview.
Allegany High School, Oral history project
Allegany High School, Cumberland
28 cms x 22 cms
Anne Failing, Erin Degyansky, Chris Jewell, Amber Sallerson, Dan Whetzel and Mike Lewis
Allegany County (Md.), History; Lonaconing, Allegany County (Md.), History; Lonaconing Silk Mill; Silk mills, History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1907-1957