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July 24, 2017 3 minute READ

Woolrich, Woven True, Then & Now

tags Inspiration | Mast Family Favorites
locations All

Woolrich has an incredible, storied history and has long been a favorite of Mast General Store. This heritage brand has been synonymous with quality outdoor clothing for over 185 years.  Fifty-three years before the Original Mast Store opened our doors in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, Woolrich's founder, John Rich, constructed his first woolen mill in Pennsylvania in 1830. The history that unfolded in tandem with the growth of Rich's woolen mill is an incredible story with deep American roots.


John Rich, an English immigrant, started out selling his woolen goods to miners, trappers, and loggers from his mule cart in Chatham Run, Pennsylvania. His yarn, fabric, coverlets, and socks became so popular that, fifteen years later, Rich expanded his production line and relocated his mill to what is now Woolrich, Pennsylvania. The mill that was constructed in 1845 no longer exists in its original configuration, but its location remains the site of Woolrich's main operations and its surrounding community.

woolrich-3.jpgThe Woolrich mill, which was built not long after the Revolutionary War, went on to experience the Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the end of the Cold War. It also witnessed the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in America, the exponential growth of American cities, and major advancements of this technological age.

From wool golf knickers and all-wool bathing suits to rugged coats for trappers and hunters, the trends and needs of our growing nation were matched by Woolrich’s production. New technological developments and changing American lifestyles led to new products for all types of outdoor activities.

From Woolrich: “As America took to the roads in the early 1930s, Woolrich added automobile robes and steamer rugs for the more mobile society. Woolrich was contracted by the government to outfit Admiral Byrd's expedition to Antarctica in 1939, 1940, and 1941.”

woolrich-4.jpg“With the invention of new high-tech materials in the modern age, Woolrich began to enhance the performance of its outdoor wear, meeting the needs of a new generation of enthusiasts. Traditional fabrics like wool and cotton teamed up with man-made fibers to create clothing that folks could rely on for everything from a backpacking trip to a leisurely stroll.”

For nearly two centuries, eight generations of the original Woolrich family have lived and worked amidst the same rural landscape of north-central Pennsylvania, not two miles from where John Rich erected his first mill. The company that provided blankets to soldiers during the Civil War now keeps folks warm by the fireplace under its wonderful throws. You can buy the same style of wool jacket your great-great grandfather may have worn in the woods or a parka that's all features the very latest in advanced technology.

woolrich-2.jpgWhat has not changed in all those years is Woolrich's commitment to quality, value, and products that fit the outdoor lifestyle. Might we add that Woolrich is proud to be the longest continuously running woolen mill in the USA? That’s rich history, indeed.

With chilly weather just around the corner, make Woolrich a lasting part of your wardrobe by clicking HERE. And maybe take a few minutes and enjoy THIS video, “Woolrich: Part of the Fabric of U.S. History”, from CBS Sunday Morning.


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