Historic Knitting Mill Saved From Closing by Buck Mason

American manufacturing is rising from the ashes, and there is still time to resurrect the historic factories of the past before they disappear. Buck Mason, a Californian apparel company, has done just that by acquiring a 150-year-old knitting mill in Pennsylvania.

There’s a reason establishments like the newly branded Buck Mason Knitting Mill have existed for so long. They’re efficient, high-quality, enrich the local community, and provide jobs. Just opened in 2023, this factory will produce knitwear t-shirts grown and sewn right here in the USA. 

The Acquisition

The purchase of the company’s new knitting mill isn’t one of long deals and cheap thrill architecture. No, it’s a vastly more American story. As Buck Mason co-founder Erik Allen Ford describes, one day, he received an anxious phone call about a factory that had just closed and would send home all the employees the following week. 

The factory was the Mohnton Mill and originally opened in 1873. It operated then as a pre-Civil War rifle factory and, over the years, shifted to a hat shop, then finally, knitwear production. During World War II, the mill made military uniforms and parachutes.

The sharp decline of American manufacturing that descended in the early 2000s didn’t take the Mohnton Mill with it. Instead, the factory continued operations as one of the last-standing producers of US knitwear. Ironically, the majority of their clientele in these years were Japanese consumers. 

To paint a picture of this plant’s history, it is older than the inventions of the radio, airplane, vacuum cleaner, and air conditioner. It existed through both World Wars, the Great Depression, and 28 presidents. Historic, to say the least. 

History Made New

Now, on the verge of shutdown, the Mohnton Mill awaited its demise, a lost piece of American history and a team of skilled employees going home. But the story has a happy ending. Although the doors closed in 2022 after nearly 150 years in operation, they opened right back up again in 2023 as the Buck Mason Knitting Mill

The resurrected knitting mill will be the primary fabrication site for Buck Mason’s slub and Pima T-shirts. By the end of 2023, more styles will be queued into production. These shirts aren’t just made in the USA; they’re grown in the USA. The cotton used to create the fabric is 100% US sourced from farms in California, Texas, and Georgia. 

Buck Mason also produces clothing in global factories, and this practice is unlikely to change. However, they are committed to establishing an American-made category for their brand. Their acquisition of this historic knitting mill makes their value in US manufacturing clear. 

The knitting mill’s history is rich and will only get richer from here. 

In the words of Buck Mason, “From cotton grown and spun in America to our new mill in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, every step of the Buck Mason Knitting Mills process is domestic. That means quality control, but so much more. It means jobs, dignity, and pride.”

Image credit: Buck Mason

About The Author



Mike leads research on the team, writes, and manages the YouTube channel. He’s been buying products made in the USA for as long as he can remember. It’s in his blood, growing up working in American manufacturing.