Clemson Winding

1820 E. Glenwood Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19134

Clemson Winding is a husband and wife team, headed up by Bill Clemson, whose father started the business in his home basement. They run a small successful business that specializes in winding: taking spools of thread and different yarns and nylons and rolling them onto cones or other spindles for distribution. Their role in the manufacturing process means that they don’t always work directly with clients who get the end product; they are the middle man and work between makers and distributors of fiber goods. But their business is still a necessity in the textile industry, as opposed to some other weavers and fabric makers, (one of which is in their own complex) who have recently gone out of business. Clemson Winding is located in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, not far from the Market Frankford Line.

They really only have about a half a dozen machines that do winding of different sorts, but Clemson still can produce a very diverse range of types of wound fiber material. They wind thread for the Amish community, using older techniques, and also have more advanced machines which will spin hundreds of spools all at once. Their main winding machine has a spindle that has large diagonal grooves in it, which allows varying thicknesses, from the very thin silky thread to the very thick sorts of coarse yarn, to pass through. The diagonal pattern of the grooves is what pulls the thread from side to side and lay down in different angles on the cone.

While we were there they happened to be spinning a gold thin silky thread used for graduation cap, tassels and sashes. The couple seems to be fairly pleased with how their business is going. It’s enough to keep them afloat, though they wish that there were days where they could call in and ask someone else, “hows everything going in the shop?” At one time this manufacturer took up two floors in this building, and employed 16 workers, including their sons and some of their friends at some point.

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