emerged in Nebraska as more people began purchasing clothes instead
of making them in the home.
One of the oddest undertakings
in Nebraska manufacturing history was an immense cotton mill
built at Kearney. Construction of the Kearney Cotton Mill began
in the fall of 1890. The Cumnock brothers, successful Eastern
cotton manufacturers, agreed to locate a mill in Kearney in return
for substantial subsidies. The mill ran for nine years, every
year at a loss. The owners declared that it was not the distance
from Texas cotton, not the necessity of importing coal, nor even
the sparsely settled distributing territory, but the want of
cheap labor that forced the closing of mill.
Harlan Brown founded Brown Sheep Company, Inc., in Mitchell,
as a way to add value to the wool he already produced. In 1980
Brown bought spinning equipment from a mill in South Carolina,
and six months later produced the first ball of yarn. The first
year was dedicated to perfecting one line of single-ply, one
hundred percent wool yarn known as "Top of the Lamb."
Today the company manufactures twelve lines of yarn in more than
a thousand different colors.
The Lincoln Hide and Fur Company was established in 1898 in the
Haymarket district of Lincoln and originally processed buffalo
hides. In time the business grew to include buying and selling
of hides, wool, and raw furs as well as custom tanning and the
manufacture of hide and fur garments.
Carson Hildreth, a former banker, established Hildreth Manufacturing
in 1924. The company manufactured hooded sleeping robes, which
provided extra warmth for sleeping or lounging. Hildreth ran
the company until his death in 1926.