Over Thanksgiving, my mom asked me if I wanted anything out of a bag of assorted shoelaces she was getting rid of. When I pulled them out, I found these very vintage laces. I suppose this proves how my mother has stuck to her delightfully thrifty New England roots and not tossed them out, cause, you never know, you might need them someday. Guess she’s been in Florida too long as she’s tossing them now. She figures the tan box might even have originally belonged to her mother. Both pairs are products of the Rhode Island Textile Company of Pawtucket, RI. The one in the blue packaging is dated 1985. I can only think my mom purchased them on Long Island where I grew up. Probably either the Caldor out in Rocky Point or over in Riverhead somewhere.
Textile companies hold an interest to me since the industry is so closely tied to the Wells family. We owned, operated and worked in the mills of the Hopkinton area for many generations. Shoelaces also remind me of line and or twine which reminds me of Ashaway Line and Twine where many members of my family worked and is also owned and operated by the Crandall’s, cousins of the Wells family.
I googled the Rhode Island Textile Company and was happy to see they are still in business, though from the view of their facility on Google Earth (see below) it looks a little quite.
The company is not in Pawtucket anymore. When I googled them, I discovered they’d moved to Cumberland, RI in 2016. I found an article on The Valley Breeze website telling about the company and its move. Nice article, Ethan.
5/24/2016: R.I. Textile selling Pawtucket facility, moving to Cumberland
PAWTUCKET – Rhode Island Textile Company, which claims to be the largest and most diverse manufacturer of braided, knitted and woven elastic, cords and webbing in the U.S., is leaving Pawtucket and consolidating operations in Cumberland. The company’s 97,000-square-foot property at 211 Columbus Ave. in Pawtucket is listed on a real estate site for $1.9 million. Two buildings are located on 3.5 acres of land, according to the listing.
The company, first founded in 1913, is closing its side-by-side manufacturing facilities on Columbus Avenue in Pawtucket to do business at 35 Martin St. in Cumberland, where it already has a distribution facility. A visit to the facility Tuesday found signs of construction for new executive offices and landscapers cleaning up the front of the property.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien said he and City Council members met with R.I. Textile Company officials several times after learning they had bought another company and were looking to consolidate to one location. He said officials “did everything we could” to find a way to keep the manufacturer in the city. They offered tax incentives and stabilization agreements, among other things, but were unable to sway the owners.
From what he was told, company officials were looking to move to a more modern facility with room to grow, said Grebien. R.I. Textile Company officials could not be reached for comment this week.
Cumberland Mayor William Murray said he’s “very pleased” that the owners chose Cumberland as a place to settle in. “We are thrilled to have Rhode Island Textile in Cumberland,” he said. “We met with them two or three times to give them information they requested as they made their decision.”
The firm, he said, is adding a business to the town’s portfolio “that will help build up the Martin Street industrial area.”
R.I. Textile Company manufactures narrow fabrics like elastics cords, webbing, gear like parachutes, laces, and certain pet products like collars and leashes. The company makes shoelaces for New Balance and is the largest manufacturer of military specification laces used in military boots and women’s and men’s dress shoes.
The company is the parent of Westminster Pet, according to its website.
Knowing that the Pawtucket facility is for sale, Grebien said officials are looking to see if the owners will consider selling the property in pieces. The city sold a parking lot to the company 10 or 15 years ago and has had an agreement in place to share parking for soccer games at the McKinnon-Alves Soccer Complex, he said. If the parcel isn’t offered separately, the hope is to partner with the next buyer of the facility to keep using the lot for parking.
For more on Rhode Island Textile Company, visit www.ritextile.com .
(I tried the website, but it didn’t seem to be up and running anymore. Not a great sign.)
Anyway, I found my discovery of these vintage laces amusing.