In an earlier issue of Brighton Warp and Weft it was
stated that this company was 60 years old last
October, and emphasis was placed on the rich
heritage which was ours, and the responsibility
which rested upon us all for maintaining the
reputation and good name of the company.
Delving back into the records, we find that Brighton
Mills was incorporated on Oct. 21, 1879 under the
laws of the State of New York. The company was
organized to manufacture cotton and other fabrics.
The offices and plant of the company were then
located on West 23rd Street, New York
City and it is believed that it was the only cotton
mill ever to have been operating in the metropolitan
are of New York City.
The first president of the company was Chas. M.
Pratt, who was elected to office Oct. 21, 1879. His
picture, taken at about this time is reproduced in
this issue, through the courtesy and with the
permission of his son, Mr. Frederick B. Pratt. Mr
Pratt later became associated with the Standard Oil
Company of New York - and among other organizations
with which he was connected was Pratt Institute - in
Brooklyn - which bears his name.
Associated with Mr. Pratt at the time of the
organization of Brighton Mills were two brothers -
Mr. William Lyall and Mr. James Lyall - Mr. James
Lyall was an inventor - noted for his skill and
ability along mechanical lines. (The Lyall Positive
Motion Loom was one of his inventions.) Mr. William
Lyall was in charge of sales.
In March, 1891, Mr. William Lyall became President -
Mr. Pratt resigning to take care of other interests.
In the early days of the company, their products
consisted of Filter cloths, “turkey red table
covers” - Counterpanes, and other fabrics of that
In the early 1890's - rubber tired bicycles began to
be popular - for many years of course the bicycles
used cushion tires but pneumatic tires were
developing. In the early days of the pneumatic
tires, the fabrics were imported - and were made of
various types of fabrics - some silk, some linen and
various mixtures. The linen fabric was found to
“cut” and was not particularly satisfactory and of
course the silk fabric was too high in price to be
A rubber manufacturing company whose plant adjoined
the plant of Brighton Mills in West 23rd
St., New York, was interested in the development of
pneumatic tires and in conversation with the Lyall
brothers - described the difficulties encountered in
obtaining a proper fabric. The Lyall brothers went
to work on the problem and in the Brighton Mills
there was developed the first cotton fabric used in
Pneumatic tires - in this country. Many hundreds of
thousands of yards of Bicycle tire fabrics were
produced by Brighton Mills - and with the advent of
the automobile - the Mills were in line to take
advantage of the new industry.
(continued in April 22, 1940 issue)
As was told in our last issue, Brighton Mills was
started in New York City in 1879, and was the first
mill in this country to make bicycle tire fabric. A
natural outgrowth of that line was Automobile Tire
Fabric, and with the increase in demand for this
fabric larger plant facilities were needed, than the
New York City location afforded.
Accordingly land was purchased in Passaic, New
Jersey and a plant erected in 1900. For a time
small offices were maintained in New York City, but
the mill office and selling department were
transferred to Passaic.
Mr. William Lyall, whose picture appears in this
issue, was President of the company during this
period - and until his death in 1916. The active
management of the company was under the direction of
Mr. William L. Lyall - whom some of the people in
Shannon may remember, - with Mr. T. J. Kelly as
factory manager, and Mr. T. M. Gardener in charge of
Brighton Mills took great pride in the quality of
the tire fabrics which it produced and great care
was exercised in the production of what was termed a
“properly balanced construction” - one with the
right amount of twist in the warp and the filling.
In the early days Sea Island Cotton was used in the
fabric used for automobile tires - as well as Combed
Egyptian - and then somewhat later Karded Egyptian
Cotton. Another staple - Sakellarides cotton -
which was grown in Egypt from Sea Island cotton seed
- was also used in the higher grade fabrics.
As methods of manufacture improved and as the demand
grew for lower price tires - gradually Combed Peeler
and then Karded Peeler yarns were used in the
production of tire fabric, but the same meticulous
care was used in the manufacture of the Combed and
Karded Peeler fabrics as was used in the higher
grade Sea Island and Egyptian cotton fabrics.
It may be that you have read of the yacht races
which were run for a number of years between yachts
in this country and the boats entered by Sir Thomas
Lipton of England. In 1914 Brighton Mills made the
sail duck which was to be used on the boat which was
entered from the United States. This sail duck was
made from the most beautiful Sea Island Cotton you
can imagine - the cotton specially selected for the
purpose - and of course had to meet a very high
standard of quality. However, the outbreak of the
war in 1914 prevented the race being run.
During the War, the Brighton Mills produced large
quantities of Khaki for the government - for
uniforms and for tents - which of course also had to
meet very rigid specifications.
Mr. William L. Lyall, who was general manager of the
company during this period, was tremendously
interested in the welfare of the operatives in the
mill. His pride in the organization was probably
the most vital thing in his life. The demand for
tire cord fabric increased tremendously during this
period and in 1914-1915 additional land was
purchased in Allwood, N. J. - just a few miles from
Passaic, - and the Allwood Plant of Brighton Mills
was erected for the production of Cord Tire Fabric.
At this time a modest housing development was
started at Allwood. Many of the employees of the
company built homes in the Allwood development - and
a spirit of friendly rivalry existed among them as
to had the most attractive garden plot. Among the
early settlers in the Allwood Village were our Mr.
Jim Coffey and Mr. “Bill” Meenen.
(continued in May 27, 1940 issue)
In this issue of the Warp and Weft we show the
picture of Mr. William L. Lyall, who, as stated in
the last issue, was President of the Brighton Mills
from 1916 until 1925 - and in active charge of the
operations of the company.
During the latter years of this period many of the
mills “larger customers” in the tire fabric business
built their own plants and the demand for cord
fabric from independent manufacturers decreased
since the tire factories were in large measure
producing their own tire cord.
In 1925 a survey of many suggested mill sites in the
South was made - after carefully weighting one
against the other - Shannon was chosen as the site
of the Southern Plant of Brighton Mills. The
transportation facilities which afforded excellent
services to the plants of our then large customers,
and the water supply which was available for a
village of the size which ultimately developed -
were two of the important factors which caused the
management of Brighton Mills to select Shannon as
the location of their Southern unit.
Building was begun in 1925. Considerable machinery
from the Passaic plant of Brighton Mills was moved
to the new location, and early in 1926 the Mill
began producing tire cord. Many of the employees
now in Shannon started work with the Mill back in
1926 and have been loyal members of the organization
since the beginning of the Southern Brighton Mills.
Mr. Morrison became President of Brighton Mills and
Southern Brighton Mills in 1927 - and in 1928 the
Southern unit was enlarged; additional equipment was
moved from New Jersey to the operating unit - and
all manufacturing operations of the parent company
were transferred to the South. The executive
offices of Southern Brighton Mills were established
in Shannon in 1931 - and the story of Brighton Mills
merges into the story of Southern Brighton Mills
with which you are familiar.
Southern Brighton Mills, as the offspring of an
honorable forebear has indeed a heavy responsibility
in living up to the traditions and lofty principles
which are its heritage. We, whose duty it now is to
perpetuate those ideals and those traditions, should
feel keenly the obligation which is ours. It is up
to us - the present generation of Southern Brighton
Mills employees - to carry on the good name and
reputation of the organization to which we belong.
Morrison - President of Brighton Mills
Arial View Taken
During Flag Raising Ceremonies
1927 - Mr. Julian
K. Morrison - President of Southern
William L. Lyall - President of Brighton
William Lyall - President of Brighton
Chas M. Pratt - First President of