Burlington, a division of International Textile Group, Inc. (ITG), recently celebrated its 90th anniversary. Founded in 1923 by J. Spencer Love, Burlington has since become one of the largest textile manufacturers in the world.
The Burlington brand continues to be recognized among leaders in technology and textile innovations, supplying advanced performance fabrics to the apparel, military, activewear, and contract markets around the world.
Joseph L. Gorga, CEO of International Textile Group commented, “Burlington’s successes came from its innovations with new products, new machinery, and new branding strategies, and we congratulate the men and women of Burlington, both today and generations before us, for their contributions to this great brand.”
“Burlington’s first success came from the ambition and willingness of Spencer Love to take a risk and try a new fibre called rayon,” said Jeff Peck, President of Burlington. “Throughout the past 90 years we’ve overcome many challenges by returning to our entrepreneurial roots, and today Burlington’s legacy continues on a global scale, focused on innovation and advanced performance fabrics.”
Burlington’s performance technologies and brands are found today across the military, outdoor, active wear, apparel and safety markets and include No Fly Zone, MCS, Maxima, Class C, Durapel Plus, Easywool™, Synatural Cool, and Sigma 4 Star.
From the beginning, J. Spencer Love, a Harvard graduate and young soldier just home from World War I, headed to Gastonia to join the family textile business. Using his savings he purchased the struggling mill from his uncle and moved the equipment to Burlington, NC, a town looking to attract new business. The cotton fabrics he produced soon fell from style and Love decided to try weaving a new experimental fibre called rayon. The new fabric was a success and within a few years Burlington was the national leader in rayon.
Burlington grew rapidly. The corporate headquarters was moved from Burlington to Greensboro in 1935, and by the following year the company had grown to 22 plants and sales of $25 million. Burlington Mills made its appearance on the New York Stock Exchange in 1937. World War II brought new challenges to the industry and nation and Burlington focused on government projects including the development of parachute cloth made with another experimental fibre, nylon. The company’s post-war growth was extensive, mostly focused on civilian uses for nylon and the great diversification of its products across apparel, home furnishings, furniture, hosiery, industrial, and specialty markets.
The company reached its peak employment in 1973 with 88,000 employees and 169 plants in the U.S. and abroad. In 1987 the company was taken over by a private company and became smaller, however it emerged again as a public company in 1992. Continued import pressures and heavy debt led the company to restructure again in 2003 before becoming part of International Textile Group, a textile conglomerate formed by WL Ross & Company.
Today Burlington operates as part of the International Textile Group, Inc. (ITG) which employs approximately 5,000 people worldwide with operations in the United States, Mexico, and China. Celebrating 90 years of textile leadership, Burlington is a global diversified provider of textile solutions across performance & specialty apparel fabrics, active wear, advanced uniform fabrics, and technical fabrics.