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Cohoes in Albany County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Cluett, Peabody & Company

What Happened at the Bleachery?

 
 
Cluett, Peabody & Company Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., March 20, 2018
1. Cluett, Peabody & Company Marker
Inscription.  

Cluett, Peabody & Co., a Troy-based manufacturer of men's collars and shirts, purchased Peebles Island in 1909. The abundant water, existing rail lines, and proximity to the company's Troy factory made the island an ideal location for treating unfinished cloth. By early 1911, their bleachery complex was in use.

The bleachery housed two operations. On the lower floors, the bleaching process involved prolonged soaking and pressure cooking. On the upper floors, the fabric was finished through a series of processes in naturally lit and ventilated spaces.

By the 1940s, Cluett, Peabody & Co. had become the world's largest manufacturer of shirts. Twenty years later, however, both the bleachery's small size and new technologies made the island operation less and less profitable. The plant closed in 1972. The following year, New York State purchased the island for public use. To learn more about the complex's current occupants please stop in the Visitor Center.

In 1928, Sanford L. Cluett invented the compressive pre-shrinking process that later took his name. The process, which was tested, refined, and perfected at Peebles Island, launched

Cluett, Peabody & Company Marker and Former Complex image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., March 20, 2018
2. Cluett, Peabody & Company Marker and Former Complex
the company into its successful years. Sanforized shirts were guaranteed to shrink less than 1%.
Courtesy of the Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy, New York.

Step #1
Bales of unfinished cloth, called grey goods, arrive by truck or train from southern textile mills.
From the Cluett & Peabody & Co. Spotlight, July 1954.

Step #2
Factory workers stitch the cloth into 14-mile-long strips in the griege, or grey room.
From The Arrow Way, published by Cluett, Peabody & Co.

Step #3
High-speed rollers feed the cloth over gas flames to remove fuzz and protruding fibers.

Step #4
Ropes of loosely twisted cloth are cleaned in chemical baths to remove natural starches, fats, minerals, and grease. The cloth is then rinsed, spread out, and dried.
From The Arrow Way, published by Cluett, Peabody & Co.

Step #5
The cloth is mercerized, or stretched under tension on frames and run through caustic soda and rinses to make it silky and lustrous.
From The Arrow Way, published by Cluett, Peabody & Co.

Step #6
Machines called "mangles" squeeze the cloth dry. It is then steam-heat dried.

Step #7
The dried cloth is either dyed or directed to a padder, where finishing

Cluett, Peabody & Company Complex Birdseye View on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., March 20, 2018
3. Cluett, Peabody & Company Complex Birdseye View on Marker
agents and blueing are added. Some of the cloth is calendered with highly polished rollers to create a surface that gleams.
From The Arrow Way, published by Cluett, Peabody & Co.

Step #8
The cloth is Sanforized or preshrunk through a compression process.
From The Arrow Way, published by Cluett, Peabody & Co.

Step #9
The lengths of cloth are folded, examined, and cut into webs.
From the Cluett & Peabody & Co. Spotlight, July 1954.

Step #10
Goods are inspected and shipped to factories to be made into shirts.
From the Cluett & Peabody & Co. Spotlight, July 1954.
 
Erected by New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 42° 47.064′ N, 73° 40.842′ W. Marker is in Cohoes, New York, in Albany County. Marker is on Delaware Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Marker is in Peebles Island State Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 Delaware Avenue, Cohoes NY 12047, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. View of Van Schaick Island (within shouting distance

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of this marker); An Urban Refuge (within shouting distance of this marker); Native American & 17th-century History of Peebles Island (within shouting distance of this marker); Peebles Island in the 18th-20th Centuries (within shouting distance of this marker); Water Ford (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Breastworks (about 300 feet away); Waterford (approx. ¼ mile away); The Waterways that Shaped a Nation (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cohoes.
 
Also see . . .
1. Sanford L. Cluett (1874-1968). (Submitted on March 24, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Cluett, Peabody & Company at Wikipedia. (Submitted on March 24, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Cluett, Peabody and Company Records. (Submitted on March 24, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 24, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 24, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 273 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 24, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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Aug. 13, 2020