Our tradition of custom-designed woolens dates back to our founder, John Rich. In 1830 he constructed his first woolen mill in Plum Run, Pennsylvania. From his mule cart, he sold his quality fabrics to loggers, miners, rivermen and trappers. By 1845, he expanded the mill and moved to what is now Woolrich, Pennsylvania.
Over the years, eight generations of his family have lived and worked amidst the same rural landscape of north central Pennsylvania, not two miles from where John Rich erected his first woolen mill. It is in these roots that we find a deep commitment to producing premium American fabrics that are as functional today as they were in the mid-nineteenth century. Bales of raw wool still come in one end of the mill and, after a good deal of work, exit as superior fabric.
Raw Wool – raw wool enters our mill and after several processes is woven into the superior fabric that is synonymous with Woolrich.
Yarn Dye Kettle – During this process the spun yarn is dyed to the correct color needed for weaving. These large kettles can dye up to 150 spools of yarn at a time. Dying time varies depending on color and weight of yarn.Cone Winding – Here the spun wool yarn is placed on cones. Cones are conical shaped bobbins made of plastic or paper. The speed of the bobbins is controlled so that a yarn with a soft even slub is ready for weaving.
Weaving Loom – On the weaving loom the warp beam is loaded and the yarns are run through heedles and reeds. The weft yarns are shot across the warp yarns with a shuttle completing the weaving of the fabric.
Burling/Mending Station – Removal of loose threads, knots, slubs, burs and other extraneous materials by means of a burling iron, a type of tweezers, occurs at the burling/mending station. The trick is to remove the impurity without damaging the fabric. After weaving and prior to finishing, any lumps (burls), knots or loose threads are removed by hand.
Finished Fabric – Finished fabric is rolled on various bolts depending on final application. Many bolts are shipped just 15 minutes away to our finishing facility and turned into the quality blankets which the Woolrich name has become famous for worldwide. Other fabric is cut and sent to crafters and civil war re-enactors. A full line of fabric is available to purchase by-the-yard on our website at woolrich.com.