The Quaker Lace Company was incorporated in Pennsylvania on December 8, 1911, for the purpose of manufacturing Nottingham lace. It declared bankruptcy in 1993 and was liquidated the following year.
The company was the last survivor of a number of textile firms founded by John Bromley (1800-1883), and his seven sons. Bromley, an English weaver, established his first carpet factory in Philadelphia in 1845. His sons expanded the carpet business and, beginning in 1889, used the profits to establish the American lace industry on a large scale by importing lace-weaving machinery and skilled Nottingham weavers. In 1894 the three youngest sons founded the Lehigh Manufacturing Company at 4th and Lehigh. The firm soon passed into the hands of the sixth brother, Joseph H. Bromley (1858-1931) and his four sons. Around 1899 they constructed a new mill at 22nd and Lehigh that was said to be the largest in the world. The 4th and Lehigh mill was then operated by Joseph H. Bromley in his individual capacity. The Bromleys also established the North American Lace Company ca. 1902 and the National Lace Company ca. 1904. The Lehigh Manufacturing Company was reorganized as Quaker Lace in 1911.
The war and changes in consumer taste ended the growth in demand for lace goods. The big 22nd Street mill was closed in 1916, and Quaker Lace took over the 4th Street mill. Joseph's son, Charles S. Bromley (1882-1950), converted the 22nd Street mill to the manufacture of hosiery in 1919 under the style of Quaker Hosiery Company. In the 1930s, the Bromleys began to move their investments out of Philadelphia with the purchase of the Riverside Mills in New Jersey, the Mayfair Mills in Athens, Ga., and the Smokey Mountains Hosiery Mills in Kingsport, Tenn. However the Philadelphia mill continued to operate, but in the 1980s the department stores that were its major buyers began to close, and the company was finally liquidated in 1993.
From the description of Records, 1897-1972. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122458940