The company began as a small mill, the Randall Farr Co., in Hespeler, Ontario at the end of the 1860's. It was founded by Herbert M. Farr and his two uncles and produced knitted goods and then alpaca worsteds. To offset tariffs, the company decided to move to the U.S.; after approaching different communities, the company found the necessary support in Holyoke, Mass. The Farr Alpaca Co. was incorporated on Nov. 13, 1873 by Herbert Farr, Jared Beebe, Joseph C. Parsons, Andrew Allyn, Joseph Metcalf, George Randall and Timothy Merrick. As demand for black alpaca and cotton-warp worsted dress goods diminished in the 1870's and 1880's, the company began to produce all-wool worsted dress goods and increased production of alpaca coat linings for men's suits and overcoats. By the 1890's, alpaca and mohair linings were the main product and were sold to the ready-made men's clothing industry. Sales were managed by C.H. and F.D. Blake and Co., then by Coffin Altemus and Co., and after 1896 by Thomas B. Martin and Henry C. Martin. Herbert M. Farr and his brother-in-law, Joseph Metcalf, dominated the company.
During World War I, the company produced uniform and airplane cloth and after the war built a cotton yarn mill. It held progressive views on employee management, providing good working conditions, a higher than average wage, a wage dividend plan, factory hospitals, etc. It began to be challenged by the increasing use of partial linings for suitings and overcoats, as well as the greater use of fabrics such as rayon for women's wear and as a lining fabric. Although the company eventually experimented with rayon, its efforts were not enough, and it was liquidated in 1938/39.
From the description of [Records]. 1873-1945. (American Textile History Museum Library). WorldCat record id: 50140603