In July, 2016 Vintage Trims owner Kurt Kiefer traveled to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to complete the purchase of truckloads of "vintage trimmings" from the long closed TrimTex factory.
Williamsport was the "hub" of the United States Trimming industry from 1900 into the 1990's. Trimtex started operations in 1919 and had 60,000 patterns that came off over 6,000 braid and trim making machines. At it's peak it employeed over 400 people and had revenue upwards of $200 million a year. As sales declined as less people sewed and bought narrow trimmings and lace the building was finally shut in about 2007. The trim inventory remained untouched at the building at 400 Park Avenue in historic downtown Williamsport.
In addition to Trimtex there were several other narrow trim manufacturers in and around Williamsport including Lycoming Trim. In nearby Scranton was Scranton Lace Co., whose large manufacturing building sits idle awaiting redevelopment. The Scranton Lace building is featured in a 2015 art book of abandoned buildings "The Art Of Abandonment" by Walter Arnold. In the book. In the book you can picture the abandoned lace factory and see lace still on the looms the day the factory shut.
As the textile industry left central Pennsylvania for the southern United States then overseas the way trims were sold changed forever. In the past the cards or rolls would be sold in retail dime stores and fabric shoppes across the USA by the yard. Shoppers would cut off the yardage they needed and stores would stock hundreds of styles. Today, with trims being made in low labor country, trims are sold in small yardage rolls at big-box retailers. Many trims are packaged in one yard or two yard increments to get to the selling price point the big retailers need. They frequently only sell the best selling trims which make the more unusual trims harder to find.
Vintage Trims.com based in Fergus Falls, Minnesota built it's business on finding warehouses of original fabric trims made in the 1950s and later that used higher quality materials not found today. They stock thousands of unusual and hard to find trims. In fact one grouping of trims from Trimtex was found marked with the dates of manufacture on them from the period 1957 to 1968 and we offer them by the date made. This is literally a trim museum that you can buy trims from the exact day of manufacture.
The advantage of vintage trims is they tend to constructed better using high quality materials than today's trims. There are also colors and patterns not seen for generations. When you are looks for unique and different, think VintageTrims.com of Fergus Falls. We celebrate sewing and creativity and every order is important to us. We try to fill every order the day it comes in, even cut yardage. Our inventory spans categories but we specialize in colorful jacquards and braids, but also have a wide variety of fringe, lace, cord, piping, and speciality trims plus a full line of embellishment including mini-bows, rosettes, appliques, tassels and notions.
The Trimtex brand continues to live on along with its sister brands Carolace and St. Louis Trimming out of New Jersey where they import trims and sell under the brand names.
There continues to be two small narrow trim manufacturing plants in the Williamsport area that continue to make trims. Both factories have former employees of Trimtex and some of the manufacturing equipment still curns out speciality trims.
We love fabric trims of all kinds, in fact we "celebrate" trims. Adding a trim to your project adds incredible uniqueness and beauty that you can get in no other way. Sewing or glueing a simple piece of trim makes your project come alive. Be it drapes, towels, bedspreads, pillows, clothes, costumes or any one of a million things you can embellish with fabric trims.
Most of our trims are decades old, found domestically in warehouses on the east coast where they may have sat in storage for years. We are big buyers and buy in truckload quantities. It's big business for us, but the larger story is we are selling very unique products that mostly cannot be found elsewhere. Many of the patterns are out of production and gone. We frequently have many rolls in stock of each color/pattern which is sufficient for even the biggest project.
We love to deal with people who love trims. In 2016 we added cut yardage to our trims which we have not done in 20 years, allowing customers to buy in one-yard increments. Our trims are housed in a four-story concrete and brick building so we know we'll be running up and down a lot of stairs with the cut yard program, but we think it will be a big advantage for our customers.
We look forward to dealing with you in the future. Call if you have questions. We're here to help if we are able.
If you've been a regular customer for VintageTrims.com for the past few decades you'll notice the look of or website has changed. We've moved to a more user friendly hosting site which will make it much easier for or staff to update and add new items. Our old website required all changes to go thru our "web team" which was at one building across town from our inventory. Now with the new back room any employee can update and add products on a laptop or computer. It will make it much faster to get inventory on line and allow instant inventory changes. A big win for us and or customers.
VintageTrims.com is a part of Kiefers.com, Inc. an internet Catalog & e-commerce company. We've been one of the nations premier liquidators of craft, art, sewing and consumer products for more than 30 years. We are based in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, USA a town of 14,000 people 3 hours northwest of Minneapolis and 45 minutes southeast of Fargo, North Dakota. We don't have a showroom, but we invite customer that are passing thru to stop and pick up their orders by appointment. We own all our own product and house it in our warehouses in Fergus Falls.
We like to tell people we are "wholesale direct". What does that mean? It means we sell at wholesale prices and quantities to everyone including retail stores, variety stores, craft stores as well as to companies,theaters, schools, and just people.
Many wholesale firms require a lot of paperwork to order such as tax resale cards, copies of licenses or such. We don't. In our 35 years we've never had a minimum order, ever. Order what you need, be it one yard, a full roll, or hundreds of rolls . We're a terrific source of supply regardless of what your end use is. We ship fast and all products ship from our warehouses in Fergus Falls, MN. We put the quantities we have in stock right on the website so you always know if a product is in stock and available. We'd love to become your supplier.
If you are new to our websites and company, we pride ourselves on offering our customers terrific customer service. We get literally thousands of orders every month. We treat each order like it is special, because it is and you are. Our staff is well trained and experienced and knowledgable about our product lines. Many competing websites don't have customer service departments or care about responding to your questions. Not us. We want to answer questions before you order so you know about the products that interest you.
Our wholesale products change frequently and new products are added daily. If you have questions, just ask us and if we don't know, we'll find out and get back to you.
Our customer service department is open from 7:30 am to 5:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday's. Use the on-line chat feature on any of our websites and you'll get a really fast reply, usually while you are on the chat button. Or call us (218) 736-7000. We'd love to hear from you.
The Jacquard fabric trim, is a direct descendant of a process developed in the early 19th century. At the dawn of the industrial revolution in Europe, handmade textiles were rapidly being replaced by manufactured products. The development of faster more efficient machines allowed the pricing of textiles to drop and were more widely available for the general population.
Fabric trims came along for the ride in this transition. In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard, a weaver by trade, developed a loom that transformed the way textiles were created in France and the world.
He developed a machine that replaced the position of the "drawboy". This person sat under the loom moving threads from the warp by hand to make a pattern defined by the master weaver. The Jacquard loom replaced this tedious process by implementing a series of pins that either pushed through holes in punch cards or remained on top. These punch cards were actually perforated strips of wood that were stitched together in a long series to create the plan for the Jacquard loom to "read".
This loom made the process much quicker and inexpensive to the joy of factory owners and behest of many weavers.
It's worth noting that although the technology was not completely unique at the time, (the punch barrel system was being invented in other parts of France at the time), the Jacquard style loom was the most successful. In some places the punch cards are still in use today, however - computers have surpassed this older technology in most mills.
The system that Joseph M. Jacquard pioneered is said to have inspired the use of punch cards in the first widely distributed computers of the middle of the 20th century. These cards were used to run complex programs for business, industry and the sciences.
The modern Jacquard fabric trim we carry at VintageTrims.com is a culmination of this early technology and changing fashion reflected in the wide variety of styles preserved in our warehouse. We've curated the best of the original trims that were created in the periods they represent. Many of these factories no longer exsist and the patterns destroyed long ago. Please take a look at our collection of Jacquard Fabric Trim for your next project.
As companies go, we a small company of only a few dozen employees. We proudly serve several niche' markets thru specialized e-commerce websites. We started as a catalog house in 1980 and have expanded dramatically since then. Most of our employees are long term and have been with us a long time. Our average length of service company-wide is 17 years. Our people know what we are doing and appreciate the relationship between our customers and their jobs.
Our markets served are:
- KieferAuctionSupply.com supplies for professional auctioneers, fundraising auctions, auction galleries and antique stores.
- VintageTrims.com a website with 1000's of vintage fabric trims, lace, braids, notions, ric rac's, cordage, and many other embellishments for crafts and sewing.
- ChandelierParts.com a Swarovski Authorized Reseller of thousands of styles of replacement chandelier parts. We represent many manufacturers from across the world with crystal prisms in all price grades.
- FargoRubberStamp.com is a 135 year old business products company making signs, decals, award ribbons, recognition products and of course rubber stamps.