Our History

  • 1865

    Milliken's Humble Beginnings

    In 1865, 20 year-old-old miller and school teacher, Seth Milliken opens a country store in Minot, Maine. Nine years later he partners with William Deering in Portland, Maine to form Deering Milliken Company. They first operate as a general store and eventually become a textile wholesaler to optimize the flow of goods between retailers and manufacturers distributing dry good and woolens. 

  • 1884

    Milliken Enters Textiles

    In 1884, Milliken start investing in southern textile mills. Seth Milliken meets with Captain John Montgomery in Spartanburg, South Carolina who is looking for backers to invest in the growing Southern textile industry. Milliken invests in Pacolet Manufacturing Company for better supply chain control.

  • 1901

    Eco-Friendly Since the Beginning

    In 1901, Milliken establishes its first recycling policy to formalize processes to reuse packaging and textile materials in its operations. Over 70 years before the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is established Milliken voluntarily takes proactive measures to sustainable practices a part of our everyday routine at our facilities.

  • 1944

    Milliken Begins Manufacturing

    In 1944, Milliken moves from investor in southern textile mills to manufacturer, becoming one of the first to realize the potential of new man-made fibers and innovate textile production methods. Milliken builds a new mill in South Carolina to manufacture tire cord during World War II and is designed by Gerrish Milliken's son, Roger Milliken. The Defore Mill is the first textile built without windows, equipped with air-conditioning and florescent lighting becoming a blueprint for mills in the textile industry.

  • 1945

    An Investment in Research

    By 1945, Milliken formally established its research group to drive textile product innovations. Out of this group came key forerunners of important technologies to come, such as Two-for-One Twisting, and Acrylic Yarn Dying. The newly formed research group also created inventions that changed how we think and feel about - and use- textiles. The research group today is one of the largest privately held research facilities worldwide and has been instrumental in transforming Milliken & Company into a leading global innovation company.

  • 1958

    Laying Our Roots at RMC

    In 1958, Roger Milliken recognizes the company needs to consolidate its operations and makes an investment to build a new headquarters in Spartanburg, SC.   Roger Milliken transformed a 600-acre former peach orchard, into what is today a nationally acclaimed arboretum and the Roger Milliken Center (RMC), which is the global headquarters of Milliken & Company.  Recently, the campus celebrated 60 years of service to the community.   

  • 1962

    Milliken Takes Flight

    In 1962, the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport opens and is the first non-military airport to have a runway centerline lightening system.  Milliken's CEO, Roger Milliken, as chairman of the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Commission, was instrumental in convincing leaders in both cites that the region will be best served through the cooperative development of a single airport.

  • 1963

    Crossing the Atlantic

    In 1963, as the pace of global commerce picks up, Milliken established its first offices in Europe.  Today, the company has manufacturing facilities, sales offices, laboratories and technical support centers around the world.  

  • 1966

    VISA® Fabrics & Breakfast Show

    In 1966, Milliken scientists discovered polymers that give fabrics many notable performance capabilities, including improved soil release, reduced soil re-deposition and enhanced wicking, which resulted in the launch of the new Visa® technology and the Milliken renowned breakfast show in New York City.    

  • 1968

    Innovations in Reinforcement

    In 1968, Milliken develops Stabilon® laid scrim and Millimatic weft insertion warp knitting technologies for composites such as duct tape, roofing membranes and construction panels. Milliken becomes a world leader in reinforcement scrims, which form the basis for Milliken innovations in performance materials and composites.

  • 1981

    Award-Winning Quality

    In 1981 Milliken launches a quality initiative, which pays off as Milliken wins numerous awards, including the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and the TPM Award.  In 2007, Milliken introduces MPS, a consulting service that applies these practices to help other companies improve manufacturing performance and safety.  

  • 2014

    Westex Joins Milliken

    In 2014 Milliken acquires Westex, an investment in strengthening Milliken's commitment to providing superior flame resistant (FR) fabrics for protective clothing. The acquisition creates unprecedented ways to deliver the highest levels of wearer protection and comfort imaginable. Milliken's history of developing innovative technology, combined with Westex's broad market knowledge and FR manufacturing expertise, strengthens our capabilities to deliver the most innovative fabrics to the FR industry. 

  • 2015

    Milliken Celebrates 150 Years

    In 2015, Milliken & Company celebrated a centry and a half of innovation in the textile industry.  Not only surviving but thriving during a challenging time when many U.S. textile companies were closing or moving offshore.  From a wholesaler of wool fabrics and dry goods to now a global leader in innovation, Milliken in proud to lead the industry in innovation and operational excellence for over 150 years.   

  • 2017

    Two Textile Divisions Merge

    The Milliken Performance & Protective Textiles division builds on industry-leading expertise to instill strength, protection, comfort and beauty to a range of industrial and consumer textile applications. Our robust, streamlined research and development capabilities combined with cross-functional collaborations offer customers meaningful value far beyond the traditional textile manufacturer.

    • Market-driven R&D to address current and anticipated industry challenges
    • Dynamic opportunities for customer collaboration to meet unique needs
    • Cross-market utilization of solutions from the broader Milliken product portfolio
  • 2006-2019

    14 Years of Winning Ethisphere Award

    Milliken's reputation in the marketplace earns the company recognition as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by Ethisphere Magazine, a publication of the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.  Most recently awarded in 2020, Milliken has received this honor for 14 years, every year since the award was first given, and is one of only 7 companies included on the list since its inception.