Throughout the 1920’s the chenille bedspread business consisted primarily of family units hand making spreads in their homes, chicken houses, or out buildings. These little enterprises were called “spreadhouses”. On the eve of the Great Depression, Bob McCamy and his wife had just such an operation in Dalton, Georgia. However, they organized their business a little more efficiently than the other family spreadhouses. They provided cotton sheets with stamped on patterns and yarn to area residents who would come by at the beginning of the week and return the finished product to the McCamy’s by the end of the week. This allowed Bob McCamy to spend most of his energy in marketing the spreads. McCamy’s wife named the business “Cabin Crafts” because their product still had the look of something homemade in a cabin out in the woods.
Two brothers, Fred and Lamar Westcott, joined the McCamy’s in 1932 bringing $10,000 of capitalization to the business. Lamar invented a needle punch device which eventually allowed them to organize the business into a factory setting. Fred hired a textile designer who had worked on the set of “Gone With the Wind”. It is said that Cabin Crafts products were actually used on that set.
Cabin Crafts prospered through the Great Depression and the McCamys and the Westcotts made chenille bedspread history by applying twentieth century manufacturing and marketing techniques to a cottage industry and making a big business out of it. Cabin Crafts, Inc. is probably the main reason that Dalton, Georgia came to be known as the “Tufted Textile Capital of The World” in the middle of the century. The manufacturing infrastructure pioneered by Cabin Crafts also allowed Dalton to eventually be known as the “Carpet Capital of the World” as chenille bedspreads fell out of style after the 1960’s. The Cabin Crafts name still exists as a carpet division of Shaw Industries.
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