Cone Mills


  • 1892: Brothers Moses and Ceasar establish the Southern Finishing and Warehouse Company.
  • 1896: Proximity Cotton Mill is built.
  • 1898: Revolution Mill is built.
  • 1905: White Oak Cotton Mill is built.
  • Dec. 8, 1908: Moses Cone, 51, dies at John Hopkins Hospital inBaltimore, MD.
  • Nov. 1913: Proximity Print Works opens in Greensboro to produce printed fabrics.
  • 1917: Ceasar Cone, 58, dies. He is succeeded by brothers Julius and Bernard.
  • 1920: The Cones buy controlling interest in Salisbury Cotton Mills. With a Greensboro population of 20,000, Cone employs 3,000.
  • 1925: Cone plants churn out 207,000 square yards of denim a day, with annual payroll of $3 million.
  • 1928: Granite Mill, in Alamance County, is acquired.
  • 1936: National advertising begins.
  • 1945: All Cone textile enterprises are reorganized under Proximity Manufacturing Co.
  • 1948: Proximity Manufacturing and Revolution Cotton Mills merge to form Cone Mills Corp.
  • 1979: Cone is the largest producer of flannel in the world.
  • 1951: Cone Mills goes public.
  • 1955: Herman Cone dies.
  • 1956: Bernard M. Cone dies.
  • 1961: Olympic Chemical Co. and John Wolf Textiles are acquired.
  • 1965: Lewis. S. Morris is elected president and CEO, the first non-relative in that post.
  • Early 1970s: With demand for flannel declining, the mill converts to corduroy production.
  • 1972: Cornwallis Development Co. is formed.
  • 1977: Proximity Print Works closes.
  • 1978: Proximity Cotton Mill closes.
  • 1981: Large portion of Revolution plant closes. 400 of 800 jobs are lost.
  • 1982: Benjamin Cone Sr. dies. Revolution Mill closes. Cone Mills has sales of $608 million.
  • 1983: Tabardrey plant closes. Cone Mills is the fifth largest publicly held company in North Carolina. And sixth largest textile company in the nation by sales, employing 10,800, with 3,700 workers in Greensboro.
  • 1983: Ceasar Cone II agrees to sell his 600,000 shares of stock to Western Pacific for $30 million.
  • June 1983: A Winston-Salem development company announces a $14 million project to renovate and convert the Revolution plant into a residential and commercial complex.
  • 1984: The entire Revolution Mills complex is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1984: Eno plant closes. Following a hostile takeover attempt by Western Pacific, Cone Mills Corp. becomes privately held through a leveraged buyout.
  • 1986: Caesar Cone II dies.
  • 1988: Minneola plant, in Gibsonville, and Edna plant, in Rockingham County, closes.
  • 1989: Cone Mills employs 9,000 at plants in the Carolinas and Mississippi, 3,000 in Guilford County. Earnings total $12.1 million with sales of $715 million.
  • 1990: The Marketing Division moves to Greensboro from New York.
  • 1991: Cone Mills Corp observes its 100th anniversary. Cone’s four denim plants make 603,000 square yards of fabric each day. The annual payroll is $188.7 million.
  • 1991: Pineville Corduroy plant closes, laying off 500 workers.
  • 1992: Starts trading on the New York Stock exchange. Shares sell at $15 7/8 a share, with 6,173,895 shares sold in the initial public offering.
  • 1993: Cone buys 20 percent of a Mexican textile company for $21 million.
  • 1994: Relocates corporate headquarters to an office park on North Elm Street.
  • 1996: Cone begins using landfill gas to power its boilers after Duke Energy builds a three-mile pipeline from an older section of the landfill to the plant on 16th Street. Under that arrangement, Cone pays Duke for the gas, with the city getting a 6 percent royalty.

  • 1997: The Cornwallis Development Company is sold. Payroll is cut by more than 6.5 percent, 200 from White Oak Plant, and 130 at the Salisbury fabric plant.
  • 1998: Cone forges an alliance with a textile manufacturer in India.
  • 1999: Eliminates 625 jobs, reports loss of $14 million.
  • 2000: Moves headquarters to Green Valley Office Park.
  • 2001: Announces job cuts to help finance a second denim plant in Mexico. Obtains $68 million loan.
  • 2002: Forms a joint venture with a Turkish company to sell denim in Europe.
  • 2003: Unveils plans to borrow $27 million from W.L. Ross to build Mexican plant.
  • Feb 2003: Revolution Studios, LLC purchases Revolution Mills and begins a renovation to convert the plant to office space.
  • Sept 2003: Cone Mills declares bankruptcy.
  • Jan 2004: Ross submits “highest and best bid” in a court-approved auction.
  • Mar 12, 2004: Ross and Cone announce completed $90 million deal, $46 million in cash and $44 million in assumed liabilities
  • Mar 17, 2004: Ross announces merger of Cone Mills and Burlington Industries. The new private company is called International Textile Group.
  • Aug 2, 2004: W.L. Ross & Co. announces the completion of the merger. ITG will have corporate offices on Green Valley Road in Greensboro in the previous Cone Mills headquarters and in an adjacent office complex. The move is expected to be complete in Nov 2004 and involve no layoffs.
  • April 2005: Ross files documents with the federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., that withdraws a request that could have undone his purchase of Cone Mills.
  • April 15, 2005: New owners, Cerberus Capital Management announces CEO John Emrich’s departure.
  • April 19, 2005: Company management announces the June 18 closing of the 5644 Hornaday Road plant, laying off 101 employees.
  • October 2007: Cone Denim announces it will lay off approximately 150 workers at its White Oak plant by the first week in December.
  • Jan 2008: ITG announces that it has named Thomas E. McKenna president of its Cone Denim division. He replaces John L. Bakane, who retired in Dec. McKenna will report to ITG President and CEO Joseph L. Gorga.
  • Apr 2009: International Textile Group spokesman says that the White Oak denim plant on Fairview Street has a work force of 300 after a layoff of approximately 100 workers in mid-April. ITG blamed the most recent layoffs on reduced demand for high-end denim made at the plant.
  • Jun 2011: The Cone Mills White Oak denim plant at 2420 Fairview St. was quickly back in service after a lightning strike set fire to part of the roof.
  • Jan 2012: The Greensboro council voted 7-1 to give International Textile Group up to $1 million worth of landfill gas at no cost. The economic incentive is meant to help the company keep about 300 employees at the White Oak textile plant. The city can cancel the agreement if the staff shrinks to fewer than 150 people.
  • Sept. 2012: Owners of Revolution Mill default on $23.5 million loan and Bank of America forecloses. Self-Help Ventures Fund places $8 million winning bid on the 630,4000 square-foot mill.
Cone Mills History

Compiled by Diane Lamb, News & Record Researcher

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