Brady Manufacturing Company

Building Sign

Brady Manufacturing Company, located in the town of Ramseur, NC, was incorporated in the state of North Carolina on March 30, 1948.  The corporate officers were Herbert F. Brady, Sue S. Brady, and C. Julian Brady.  The purpose of the business was the manufacture of handkerchiefs.  In the following month of June, the textile plant began producing men’s white hemstitched handkerchiefs.  The plant’s first superintendent was C.S. Lowdermilk.  Fannie Bray Roberts was the forelady.  The brick manufacturing plant, with approximately 4,000 square feet of floor space, was located off Main Street near Hwy 64.  C. Julian Brady eventually became the sole stockholder of the business.

On February 12, 1958, a fire broke out at the handkerchief plant causing extensive damages estimated at $100,000.  It was initially believed that the blaze started in the basement, but it was later determined that the fire started on the main floor when a spark ignited lint from cotton cloth being hemmed.  Ruby McKinney was the only employee on duty when the fire was discovered at about 6:45 pm.  After noticing the fire in the rear of the building, she ran to Loflin Funeral Home across the street to get help.  (Newspaper accounts report she ran to the nearby home of Julian Brady.  Finding no one at home, she ran to a nearby service to report the fire.)  Traffic on both Highway 64 and Highway 22 was tied up for several hours after the discovery of the fire. The Asheboro Fire Department sent a truck to the burning plant to assist the Ramseur firemen with the inferno.  Firemen battled to keep the blaze from spreading to other structures nearby.  Five teams of firemen fought the blaze for six hours using approximately 100,000 gallons of water. Only the brick walls of the building were left standing.  At the time of the fire, C. Julian Brady was away in Virginia and was en route home when he learned about the blaze.  Charles V. York was the plant superintendent.  All workers, mainly women, became temporarily unemployed.

A few days after the devastating fire, C. Julian Brady announced plans to resume production within a few weeks.  He made arrangements to purchase new machinery and was actively searching for suitable manufacturing space in the Ramseur area.  By early March 1958, Brady acquired the old Enterprise Manufacturing Company in Coleridge, NC.  The purchase of the plant included approximately 30 residential houses, a teacherage, the power plant, dam, and several warehouses.  The employees returned to work and production of hemmed stitch handkerchiefs resumed.

In January 1960, Brady Manufacturing Company purchased the machinery and the physical assets of Kalmia Braids, Inc., a shoelace manufacturer located in Spruce Pines, NC.  The machinery and equipment were moved to the plant in Coleridge, and full production of shoelaces soon began.  Dress, work, and sport shoelaces for men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes were produced.

Brady Manufacturing Company operated in Coleridge from 1958-1961 before moving into a newly constructed building located near the site of the original handkerchief plant.  The new building measured 15,000 square feet and faced Highway 64.  Production of handkerchiefs and shoelaces continued through the decade until operations ceased in the late 1960s.  C. Julian Brady sold the building and equipment to Goody’s Manufacturing Company, producer of Goody’s Headache Powder.

Employees of Brady Manufacturing Company included:  C. Julian Brady, C. Julian ‘Brad’ Brady, Jr.  Mary Jo Brady, C.V York, Ruby McKinney, Betty Lineberry, Clendon Stedman Lowdermilk, and Fannie Bray Roberts.

Handkerchief brands produced:

  • Kotton-Hank
  • Neet-Hank
  • Red Bird
  • Brady
  • Flite-15
  • Huntsman
  • Brad-Jo

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