From cotton and bookcloth to fuel cells, films and printing media these two 150 year old mills are state-of-the-art!
The Arkwright Company of Coventry, R.I. began in 1810 as a textile mill owned by James DeWolf. Two mill buildings were constructed, one of which burned down in 1851. With the construction of a new building in 1883, the company became Interlaken Inc., and was engaged primarily in the manufacture of cloth for book binding.
It was purchased by an English firm, Winterbottom Mills, in 1892, but continued operating under the Interlaken name. Interlaken absorbed the nearby Harris Manufacturing Company in 1900 making Interlaken the largest bookcloth manufacturing company in the world at the time.
A new plant was built in 1922 to manufacture tracing cloth for architects and draftsmen; it was called Arkwright Finishing Company, and was nominally a separate business until a formal merger in 1959 as Arkwright-Interlaken, Inc. The name was changed to Arkwright Inc. in 1973. It gradually phased out its textile operations and moved to the coating of film. The last cloth was produced in 1983. Arkwright was bought by Dietec Group, headquartered in Cles, Italy in 2008.
Winterbottom, the parent firm, was bought out by Venesta International in 1961. Venesta was bought out by Ozalid Group Holdings in 1972, who were in turn bought out by Oce Van Der Grinten (a Dutch firm) in 1977. Now the north complex is occupied by SIHL a global manufacturer of films, printing media, thermal papers, packaging films, etc.
Response Technologies, a material science and engineering company in West Warwick, moved to the south complex (next to the river) in early 2020, and in December, 2020 was acquired by Bell Textron to advance its fuel cell technology offerings. Meanwhile a part of the company in West Warwick was renamed Response Medical and is in the forefront of producing high quality medical masks.