- Digital Scholarship
Table of Contents
In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
The New Bedford Rayon Company was established in June 1928 as an offshoot of Delaware Rayon Company of New Castle, Delaware. Formed to meet a growing demand for rayon fiber on the part of New England textile manufacturers, the company commenced operations one year later in what had been the buildings of Manomet Mills at New Bedford, Mass. New Bedford Rayon Company grew at a steady rate between 1930-1950, supplying a world-wide market for different types of rayon yarn. The firm also manufactured rayon-based synthetic fabrics during this period, particularly through its subsidiary, New Bedford Knitting Company. In 1951, New Bedford Rayon Company became a division of Mohawk Carpet Mills, Inc., of Amsterdam, N.Y., and shifted its focus to producing rayon for use in carpets. The company remained associated with the Amsterdam firm--reorganized as Mohasco Industries, Inc., in 1957-- until 1969, then became a part of Empire Synthetics Corporation of Mt. Vernon, N.Y. Under the name of New Bedford Rayon, Inc., the company attempted to combat growing competition from other types of synthetic fiber producers by manufacturing dyed yarns as well as novelty and regular commercial grades of yarns. Sales, however, continued to decline, and this factor, when combined with increasing labor costs, high tax rates, and a serious fire at the mill, led to the liquidation of New Bedford Rayon, Inc., in September 1970.
Materials in this collection represent those records collected, generated, or received by the general managers of New Bedford Rayon, Inc., throughout its forty-two year existence. Because the original order of these documents is unknown, and because other records of the firm no longer exist, the materials have been organized into seven series by type of document in order to reflect the administrative, financial, labor, production, and sales activities of the company from 1926-1974.
Series A contains a number of Administrative Records, including reports to stockholders dating from 1931-1934 and 1951-1968. Most of these records, however, consist of agreements, contracts, and related documents reflecting the administrative relationships of the firm with the Delaware Rayon Company, New Bedford Knitting Company, Mohawk Carpet Mills, Inc., Mohasco Industries, Inc., and Empire Synthetics Corporation from 1926-1969.
Financial Records in Series B chronicle the company's cost of operations from its first year of production, 1929, to its settlement with creditors in 1971. Included in these materials are balance sheets, profit and loss statements, statistics, correspondence, and memoranda relating to productivity, wage rates, and the cost of equipment, utilities, and raw materials. This series also encompasses profit growth plans, appropriation requests, and budgets, 1965-1969; financial reports, 1951, 1968; and records of insurance on buildings and machinery, 1931-1969.
Particularly notable among records in this collection are those in Series C concerning the labor force of New Bedford Rayon, Inc. The company's association with local and national textile unions began in 1933, and contract negotiations, collective bargaining sessions, and arbitration and grievance procedures relating to the firm's employees are amply reflected by minutes of union meetings, contracts and other legal documents, correspondence, notes, and memoranda, ca. 1933-1969. Included among these union records are several work measurement studies completed by New Bedford Rayon, Inc., in the 1950s-1960s in an effort to increase productivity. In addition to union-related materials, the Labor Records encompass salary schedules and payrolls, 1941-1970; job description, evaluation, and assignment records, 1937-1970; personnel policy manuals, 1958-1968; records concerning employee benefits, 1949-1970; personnel safety records, 1938-1970; and memoranda relating to work hours and employee regulations, 1958-1970.
Comprising the bulk of this collection are Production Records in Series D which reflect all aspects of the chemical process of manufacturing viscose rayon. These materials, dating from 1929-1974, include tests, production standards and schedules, reports, correspondence, and other documents dealing with the fabrication, spinning, washing and drying, cone winding, inspection, packing, and shipping of rayon products. Production-related activities are also highlighted by engineering records concerning the company's physical plant and equipment and by technical records such as product test reports and procedures; notes; and correspondence and tests responding to customer complaints. These materials are supplemented by numerous reports prepared by company officials, chiefly concerning operations at other textile mills in the United States, Canada, and Europe, 1930-1969; correspondence relating to overall production activities and problems, 1931-1970; and supply catalogs, ca. 1929-1970, advertising machinery and equipment used in the manufacture of viscose rayon.
Sales Records for New Bedford Rayon, Inc., have been grouped together in Series E. These documents include sales-related correspondence; requests for yarn samples; order acknowledgments; sales statistics and reports; inventories; and price lists, as well as color codes and sales catalogs. Dating from ca. 1950-1974, the materials focus on the company's marketing activities as a division of Mohawk Carpet Mills, Inc., and Mohasco Industries, Inc.
Rounding out the collection is a group of general correspondence and several historical and biographical sketches, clippings, and articles. Incoming and outgoing letters in Series F, 1947-1974, chiefly reflect public relations duties of the company's general managers and, in addition, demonstrate their efforts to influence state and federal legislation having a potential impact on the rayon industry. Series G material, dating from ca. 1930-1970, includes a useful account of the firm's history by Olga Louise Garth and Leo F. St. Aubin.
In addition to materials relating to New Bedford Rayon, Inc., this collection contains records of the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce and its credit information division, the Credit Bureau of New Bedford, Inc., for 1961-1969. These records, consisting of by-laws; minutes of meetings; balance sheets and financial statements; membership registers; publications issued by the organization; incoming and outgoing correspondence; and memoranda and clippings, principally represent materials associated with Leo F. St. Aubin's service as a director and president of the Chamber of Commerce between 1966-1969. Notable among the records are documents concerning efforts to redevelop New Bedford's central business district.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 25 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Related Manuscript Collections
Mss 144: New Bedford Rayon, Inc., Records, 1926-1974
Removed to Photographs Collection
- Photographs of company officials and employees, ca.1930-1969. 9 items.
- Photographs of company plants and facilities, ca.1930-1960. Includes post card of Manomet Mills, ca. 1925. 6 items.
- Photographs of company machinery and equipment, ca.1930-1972. Includes negatives and several slides. 48 items
- Photographs of rayon manufacturing machinery and equipment produced by firms in the United States, Canada, and Europe, ca. 1931-1970. 58 items.
- Photographs taken at New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce programs and events, 1966-1969. 8 items.
Removed to Printed Collection
- A. B. Segur & Co. Motion-Time-Analysis Bulletin, Sept. 1969.
- Albert Raymond & Associates, Inc. Bulletins, 1946-1947, 1951-1965.
- Alexander, Arthur. Man Made Fiber Processing, 1966.
- American Appraisal Co. Clients' Service Bulletin, Feb. 1969.
- American Fabrics, 1965-1970
- American Society for Testing Materials. Standards on Textile Materials, 1958.
- American Textile Reporter, July 16, 1970; Mar. 4, 1971; June 10, 1971; June 24, 1971
- Arthur D. Little, Inc. The Outlook for Industrial Fuel Oil in Massachusetts, 1970.
- Aston, James. Wrought Iron. . .,2d ed., 1939.
- Beer, Edwin J. The Beginning of Rayon, 1962, with 1968 supplement.
- British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee. German Rayon Industry, ca. 1946.
- British Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee. The Viscose Continuous and Rayon Staple Fibre Plants of the . . . Occupation Zones of Germany, ca. 1946.
- Buckeye Cellulose Corp. Cellulose for New Rayon Fibers, .
- Buckeye Cellulose Corp. Viscose Process Optimization Studies on V-60 Pulp, 1966.
- Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. Bulletin to Management, 16 July 1970.
- Catalogs for textile production machinery and equipment, ca. 1939-1970.
- Commonwealth of Mass. Dept. of Public Safety. Division of Inspection. Chapter 146 of General Laws, ca. 1965.
- Compressed Air Magazine, Nov. 1969.
- Contracts between New Bedford Rayon Division and Textile Workers Union of America, 1967, 1969 (duplicates of contracts remaining in the collection).
- Cowling, Hale. The Effect of Manganese on the Dispersion of Cellulose Viscose. . . . Ph. D dissertation, University of Michigan, 1939.
- Dow Chemical Co. Keys to Chelation, 1965.
- Englehard Industries Technical Bulletin, Dec. 1968.
- Hamilton, J. Kelvin, and Mitchell, R. L. "Cellulose." Reprint from Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 2d. ed., vol. 4, pp. 593-616.
- Harrison, Mark G. Textured and Novelty Yarn Processes, 1967.
- Hathorne, Berkeley L. Woven Stretch and Textured Fabrics, 1964.
- Hooker Electrochemical Co. Caustic Soda [Bulletin 115], 1954.
- Hooker Electrochemical Co. Caustic Soda Buyer's Guide [Technical Service Bulletin 101], 1955.
- Industrial Cellulose Research Ltd. Some Problems in. . . the Spinning of Viscose Rayon [Special Report 6], 1932
- Industrial Cellulose Research Ltd. Technical reports: 1386, 1487, 1578, 1592, 1954, 1983, 2001, 1002.
- Industrial Cellulose Research Ltd. Testing Methods of Viscose. . .Plants, Sept. 1957.
- International Cellulose Research Ltd. Technical Reports: 1428, 1971, 1983, 2181, 2227, 2237, 2249, 2273, 2292, 2294, 2389.
- International Textile Bulletin. World Edition: Spinning, 1970.
- Journal of the Engineering Society of New England, Jan. 8, 1968.
- Kennedy, Stephen J. The Changing Capability of the Textile Industry to Support National Defense, 1973.
- Keyes, Kenneth S. Jr. How to Develop Your Thinking Ability, 1950.
- Man-Made Fiber Producers Association, Inc. Base Book, 1951-1960, 1961-1965.
- Man-Made Fiber Producers Association, Inc. Fact Book, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1970.
- Michigan Alkali Co. Wyandotte Caustic Soda, 1940.
- Modern Textiles, Jan.-Dec. 1968; Feb.-Sept., Dec. 1969; Feb., Mar. 1970; Sept. 1971; Sept. 1972.
- Monsanto Textiles Division. Textured Yarn Technology, 1967, with 1968 supplement. 4 vols.
- New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce. Membership Roster, 1968
- New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce. Program for 85th Annual Banquet, 1969
- New England Industrial Directory, 1969.
- Ranney, M. W. Flame Retardant Textiles, 1970.
- Rathe, Alex W., ed. Gantt on Management, 1961.
- Rayon Statistical Base Book, 1950.
- Reprints of articles from textile journals, 1960-1969.
- Riordan Sales Corp., Ltd. The Effect of Various Steeping Temperatures [and] The Mechanism of the Aging of Alkali Cellulose, June 1938.
- Rose, H. Wickliffe. The Rayon and Synthetic Fiber Industry of Japan, 1946.
- Saunders, J. H., and Frisch, K. C. Polyurethanes: Chemistry and Technology. Part II: Technology, 1964.
- Settineri, William J. Crystal and Molecular Structure of Xylan and its Crystallization, 1966. Ph. D dissertation.
- Skinner's Wool Trade Directory of the World, 1967-1968.
- Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. Directory, 1975.
- Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. The Intercom, July-Aug. 1970.
- Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. International Dissolving Pulps Conference. Papers, 1963, 1968.
- Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. TAPPI, June, July, 1973; May, Dec., 1974; Mar.-July 1975.
- Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. Technical Information Sheets, 1965-1972.
- Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. Yearbook, 1969-1970, 1972
- Textile Organon, 1955-1960; Sept. 1967; 1970-1971.
- Textile Research Institute. Institute News, July 1970.
- Textile Research Journal, Jan.-Dec. 1968; Jan.-Nov. 1969; Feb., Mar., June, Aug. 1970.
- Textile World, July 1970; May 1971; July 1973; May, June, Nov., Dec. 1974; Apr., May, Aug. 1975
- U. S. Dept. of Commerce. Office of the Publication Board. Continuous and Staple Fibre Plants of Germany, ca. 1946.
- U.S. Dept. of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Major Sources of Productivity Information, 1949.
- University of Mass. School of Engineering. Commonwealth Technical Resource Service. ComTECH Transfer, Nov. 1969; July 1970.
- Van Dartelen, J. The Importance of the Spinning-Pump for Production of Artificial Silk, .
Removed to Objects Collection
- Trade-mark symbol for "Newbray" yarns, ca.1930.
Removed to Maps Collection
- "Plan of land in New Bedford" showing New Bedford Rayon Division sites, 1951-1952.
Records in this collection were given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society on 28 October 1981 by Leo F. St. Aubin, an employee of the company from 1929 through 1971--and its final General Manager
Processed by: Patricia J. Albright, with assistance from Leo F. St. Aubin, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 28 July 2011; box list ammended by Mark Procknik, 9 December 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Arbitration, Industrial--Mass.--New Bedford
Artificial fibers SEE Textile fibers, Synthetic
Artificial silk SEE Rayon
Boards of trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Central business districts--Mass.--New Bedford
Chambers of commerce SEE Boards of trade
City planning--Mass.--New Bedford
Collective bargaining--Mass.--New Bedford
Collective bargaining--Textile industry--Mass.--New Bedford
Collective labor agreements--Mass.--New Bedford
Collective labor agreements--Textile industry--Mass.--New Bedford
Commercial associations--Mass.--New Bedford
Credit Bureau of New Bedford, Inc., New Bedford, Mass.
Credit bureaus--Mass.--New Bedford
Delaware Rayon Company, New Castle, Delaware
Dyes and dyeing--Textile fibers, Synthetic
Empire Synthetics Corporation, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
Grievance arbitration--Mass.--New Bedford
Grievance procedures--Mass.--New Bedford
Labor contracts--Mass.--New Bedford
Labor disputes--Mass.--New Bedford
Labor productivity--Mass.--New Bedford
Man-made fibers industry--Mass.--New Bedford
Mediation and conciliation, Industrial--Mass.--New Bedford
Mercantile agencies SEE Credit bureaus
Mohasco Corporation, Amsterdam, N.Y.
Mohasco Industries, Inc., Amsterdam, N.Y. SEE Mohasco Corporation, Amsterdam, N.Y.
Mohasco Industries, Inc., Amsterdam, N.Y. New Bedford Rayon Division, New Bedford, Mass. SEE New Bedford Rayon, Inc., New Bedford, Mass.
Mohawk Carpet Mills, Inc., Amsterdam, N.Y.. SEE Mohasco Corporation, Amsterdam, N.Y.
New Bedford Knitting Company, New Bedford, Mass.
New Bedford Rayon Company, New Bedford, Mass. SEE New Bedford Rayon, Inc., New Bedford, Mass.
New Bedford Rayon, Inc., Records
New Bedford, Mass.--City planning
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
New Bedford, Mass.--Industries
Non-wage payments--Mass.--New Bedford
Nonwoven fabrics industry--Mass.--New Bedford
Production standards--Mass.--New Bedford
Productivity bargaining--Mass.--New Bedford
Rayon industry and trade--Mass.--New Bedford
Silk, Artificial SEE Rayon
St. Aubin, Leo F., 1909-
Synthetic fibers SEE Textile fibers, Synthetic
Textile fabrics--Mass.--New Bedford
Textile fibers, Synthetic--Mass.--New Bedford
Textile industry--Mass.--New Bedford
Textile workers--Mass.--New Bedford
Town planning SEE City planning
Trade-unions--Textile workers--Mass.--New Bedford
Viscose rayon SEE Rayon
Viscose silk SEE Rayon
Wages and labor productivity--Mass.--New Bedford
Wages--Rayon Industry and trade--Mass.--New Bedford