May 15, 2015
Draper Corp. in the Dutcher Years
Hopedale in May
Did you know Hopedale was once the home of Ethel, the world champion butterfat producer? I didn't until I
read this article about the Red Barn fire in 1937.
During the past two weeks, additions have been made to the following existing pages: Robinson Billings
(Wedding article) A Walk Through the Parklands (Sawmill set up in the Parklands to cut trees downed by
the 1938 hurricane. They estimated that 500,000 board feet of lumber would be salvaged.) Unidentified
Vets Photos (Guido Noferi identified by David Noferi.) Crime in Hopedale (Safe cracked at HC&I, 1938. $6
taken. $600 worth of jewelry stolen from 24 Mendon Street in 1929.) Draper Strike, 1913 (Ad for strike
breakers in the Boston Herald, April 14, 1913.) Sam Kellogg (Obituary) Telephone Service (Phone
company ad encouraging people to switch from party lines to private lines.) Robert "Zeke" Hammond
(1996 Milford News article) Spindleville (Wilmarth Westcott obituary) Now and Then - Unitarian Church
(Two brief articles from 1915 on the medallion window, and a picture of the window.) Deaths
About 50 couples attended the private dancing party in Town Hall Saturday, for which Collin's orchestra
furnished music. The hall was beautifully decorated with palms and cut flowers from the conservatory of
Eben S. Draper and the affair proved one of the most successful and enjoyable of the season. Milford Daily
News, December 13, 1912.
The Indians and Ward 8 played a hockey game on Hopedale Pond yesterday which was won by the Indians,
8 to 0. Following the game, the boys had a fight in the woods which was won by Ward 8. Milford Daily News,
January 2, 1926.
Draper Corporation in the Dutcher Years
Frank Jerome Dutcher (1850 - 1930) was elected the third president of the Draper Company in 1909. Like
William F. Draper, Dutcher served as president for twenty years. (1909-1930), and guided the company
through its third period of expansion. This period included the creation of the Draper Corporation in 1916,
coinciding with the one hundred-year anniversary of the company's founding. Dutcher's presidency brought
continued improvements to the Northrop loom, the mainstay of the company's product line; the
establishment of a bobbin-manufacturing facility in New Hampshire; the introduction of new products and
services; minor expansions of the Hopedale plant; and the construction of numerous employee houses,
including three new developments of double houses. Concurrently with his role as Draper's president,
Dutcher supervised the company's patent department.
Draper brought out eight models of the Northrop loom from 1894 through the 1920s. Among them were the A
model (the first Northrop loom); the E model (built in various forms over thirty-two years for a wide range of
weaves); the K model for fancy weaves; the modified D for woolens, worsteds, and heavy cottons; and other
models for weaving corduroys, wide sheetings and heavy duck. The company observed in Cotton Chats that
compared with common looms, Northrop looms "require less weavers; earn more wages per weaver,
improve quality of goods, [and] weave more yards per annum." (Cotton Chats, February 1913) Issues of
Cotton Chats included photographs featuring large piles of scrapped common looms that were replaced by
Draper Company sales figures published in the January 1912 issue of Cotton Chats show 219,752 Northrop
looms in the United States. Fifty-five percent of the total looms were in Southern mills, 40% in New England,
and 5% were in the mid-Atlantic, Midwestern and Western states combined. The mill with the greatest
number of Northrop looms was the Pepperell Manufacturing Company of Biddeford, Maine, with 6,111
Northrop looms. The Massachusetts company with the greatest number was Pacific Mills in Lawrence with
3,674. One of the Southern companies with a large number of Northrop looms (1,830) was the Chadwick-
Hoskins Company near Charlotte, North Carolina. Chief investors in Chadwick-Hoskins were William F.
Draper, recently retired (removed by his brothers at the start of the family feud, actually) as president of the
Draper Company, and one of his sons, Arthur J. Draper. Arthur Draper moved to Charlotte to serve as
president of Chadwick-Hoskins, a post he occupied until the early 1920s. Chadwick-Hoskins reportedly
became the largest textile corporation in North Carolina, operating 98,000 spindles.
Products made on Northrop looms ranged from the "Fruit of the Loom" line, woven by the B.B. & R. Knight
Company at seven mills in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, to Red Cross bandages and sanitary goods
woven by Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Northrop looms were used to weave denims
and chambrays, ginghams and print cloth, velvets, corduroys, worsteds, damasks, and flannels, among
other fabrics, as well as seamless bags. In 1916, Draper Corporation introduced a Northrop loom for
weaving Turkish towels. By 1925, Northrop looms were used for weaving rayon and silk as well as cotton.
According to Garner's research (Model Company Town, John Garner, 1984), in the period from 1886 to 1916,
annual sales at the Draper Company increased from $1.2 million to nearly $7.5 million, due in large part to
the success of the Northrop loom, which positioned Draper as the largest manufacturer of cotton machinery
in the nation. Employees in Hopedale numbered 500 in 1886, 700 in 1896, 1200 in 1906, and over 1700 by
1916. During the same period, the town's population increased from 926 in 1886 to 2663 in 1916.
The last publication of the annual list of Northrop loom owners in Cotton Chats occurred in 1924. By July 1 of
that year, the total number of looms was 410,000, located in 678 mills in twenty-nine states and three
Canadian provinces. The three largest users of Northrop looms were Pacific Mills, with locations in the North
and South, (14,922 looms), Consolidated Textile Company, also with locations in the North and South, and
Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in Manchester, New Hampshire (10,874). The largest user in
Massachusetts was American Printing Company in Fall River, with 7,756 Northrop looms. Hopedale Village
Historic District National Register Nomination, Kathleen Kelly Broomer, 2001.
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