Back in 1869, Graham G.J. Littlewood bought out a dyer in Falls of the Schuylkill. The business was subsequently moved to Manayunk in the western part of Philadelphia. In the company’s first fifty years, the plant was surrounded by some thirty textile mills in the immediate area. It is certainly remarkable that G. J. Littlewood not only survived, but steadily grew in size during a time when much of the textile business nearby was closing down; there are only two mills left in the area today.
Early on, the plant was involved in the bleaching and dyeing of cotton warps, cotton skein, raw cotton and wool. Natural dyes such as Indigo, Logwood, Sumac and Fustic were used in these early days. Water was obtained from the nearby Schuylkill River, as well as from a natural spring in the hills, which still flows today into a pond behind the mill.
Of the buildings currently occupied by G. J. Littlewood & Son, several date back to the early 1800’s. The building now used for offices and a lab was once an Inn for canal boat crews. These older surroundings are in a sharp contrast to the ultra modern equipment and labs of today.
The continued growth of the company throughout the 1970’s and 80’s necessitated the introduction of a second plant in Bloomsburg, PA, owned, operated and managed under the same charter as the Philadelphia plant. Unfortunately, a decline in the industry forced its closure in 2004.
The advent of synthetics proved a new challenge to the company. G. J. Littlewood was one of the first raw stock dyers to install high temperature/high pressure machinery for dyeing polyester fiber.
The result of continuous process improvement, adaptability to changing conditions, dedication to customers and hands on family management has led to our continued success, nearly 150 years from our founding. The fifth generation of Littlewoods has the ability to produce state of the art dyeing of synthetics, i.e., polyester, acrylics, rayon and nylon, along with natural fibers such as wool, cotton and jute.
- G. J. Littlewood & Son, Inc. is a commission raw stock dyer.
- We are equipped with 16 dyeing vessels and 3 large capacity drying lines.
- Our machinery can do 2,000 lb. dyeings as well as 50 lb. samples.
- Precise color matching utilizing Datacolor equipment;
- Pre and post scouring;
- Fire retarding;
- Lubricity agents;
- Ability to add Softeners, finishes and other after treatments.
- Antimicrobial Nano Technology Applications.