Cluett, Peabody & Company

Cluett, Peabody & Company (HM267K)

Location: Cohoes, NY 12047 Albany County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 47.064', W 73° 40.842'

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What Happened at the Bleachery?

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 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.


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 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 &


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.
HM NumberHM267K
Placed ByNew York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, March 24th, 2018 at 4:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 607909 N 4737717
Decimal Degrees42.78440000, -73.68070000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 47.064', W 73° 40.842'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 47' 3.84" N, 73° 40' 50.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)518
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 300 Delaware Ave, Cohoes NY 12047, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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