Collingbourne and Dexter

Collingbourne – Virginia Snow – Dexter Company History


Based on timeline by Shirley McElderry, used with permission. Annotations by Nancy Nehring to make more relevant to crocheters.


1798 – Dexter Yarn Co. established in Pawtucket, RI.

1813 – Mill built and by 1820 producing knitting cotton. Later added other cotton threads and yarns.

1910 – Western Thread Co., a yarn and thread manufacturer and dye works, moved to Elgin, IL.

1912 – A. B. Collingbourne joined Western Thread Co. Artzilk artificial embroidery and crochet thread introduced.

1913c – Began using Virginia Snow as a brand.

1914c – Collingbourne became president of Western Thread Co.

1915 – Western Thread Co. published Collingbourne’s Encyclopedia of Art Needlework Instruction by Virginia Snow, a combination instruction book and product catalog and about this time began mail order.

1918 – Name changed to Collingbourne Mills. Western Thread Co. and Collingbourne Mills used interchangeably until incorporation in 1924. Logo was ABC in a diamond for America’s Best cotton and A. B. Collingbourne.

1924 – Collingbourne Mills incorporated as Collingbourne Mills, Inc. Began manufacturing stamped embroidery patterns.

1926 – Modern needlework plant built and operated as Virginia Snow Studios. Collingbourne reputed to be largest independent manufacturer of spool, embroidery and crochet threads in USA.

1927 – Collinbourne purchased Dexter Yarn Co. Grandma Dexter brand used for quilting, rug making and weaving products.

1938c –Collingbourne Mills, Inc. went into receivership and A. B. Collingbourne left company.

1943 – Rudolph Petzelt purchased company and changed name to Dexter Mills, Inc.

1949c – Petzelt sold remaining product to Leeward Products, LTD and concentrated on machinery business.