The Evolution of the Textile Industry

November 29, 2018 11:02 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

According to the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), as of 2017, the value of the U.S. textile, man-made fiber filament and apparel shipments totaled an estimated $77.9 billion. Out of this total, cotton and wool made up about $5.9 billion. In fact, in 2016, the U.S. was the world’s fourth largest country exporter of fiber, yarn, fabric and non-apparel sewn products.

So how did the U.S. become so well-positioned in the textile market? Well, our country has had a long history in the textile industry. As your local source for cotton gin parts in Texas for the past 75 years, we can tell you that, despite varying challenges, our country has been able to adapt its approach to textiles over the centuries. Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of the textile industry here in the U.S.

What is the textile industry?

Before we dive deeper into this subject, it’s important to define what the textile industry is. The textile industry refers to a group of related industries that design, produce and distribute a wide array of natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, as well as synthetic fibers, including polyesters and spandex.

The first factory

Before textiles became a major industry in the U.S., people would create fabrics and other products that would fall into the textile group in their homes for their own families and to sell. However, the U.S. textile industry did not come into existence until 1790. In 1790, simultaneous with the invention of the cotton gin, the first factory ever built in the U.S. was a textile spinning plant.

19th century

By the 19th century, the South had become known as the world’s biggest supplier of cotton. In southern U.S. states, cotton was referred to as “King Cotton” because it quickly became the number one cash crop in the South.

During the early 1800s, the U.S. also saw many changes to transportation and mill and manufacturing operations. The replacement of water-powered mills with engine-powered mills, the extension of railroad systems and several other factors furthered the manufacturing and distribution of textiles both nationally and globally. By 1860, the U.S. was the world’s biggest supplier of cotton to European mills.

20th century

The 20th century saw many changes to the textile industry. Technological advances made manufacturing faster and more efficient. Synthetic fibers were also introduced to the industry, which radically changed a business model that focused on cotton and wool. However, the production of textiles, including both natural and synthetic fibers, continued to be a valuable industry for the U.S. economy through most of the 20th century.

Today, the textile industry is still a major part of the U.S. economy, particularly here in Texas. As your local source for cotton gin parts in Texas, we at M.B. McKee Company, Inc. are proud to help serve and support the U.S. textile industry. To learn more about our inventory and the other services we provide, call the experts at M.B. McKee Company, Inc. today. We look forward to working with you!

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