The Beacon Blanket Company was founded in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1904. The product was a patterned blanket made of cotton. In 1925, the spinning operation of the company was moved to Swannanoa, North Carolina, where it was closer to the source of the raw material, cotton. Financial pressures during the depression caused the owner, Charles D. Owen, to move the entire operation to Swannanoa, where wages were lower and the workers were less likely to unionize. The entire New Bedford factory was loaded on railroad cars and moved south.
The Beacon product of most interest to vintage clothing collectors is the Beacon cloth robe, which was made from the blanket fabric. They can be found in plaids, and in beautiful omber “Indian” designs. The Beacon company did not actually make the robes; they made the fabric and provided the labels to sewing factories.
Beacon closed in 2002.
Written by fuzzylizzie