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J.L.Stifel and Sons


J.L.Stifel & Sons was an American textile and jeans manufacturing brand which became prominent from 1835 to 1956 and a precursor one in indigo-dyed cotton calicos. Smoother than canvas or denim but very resistant, calico made success in workwear clothing. Typical calicos such as polka dots, flowers and dotted lines on bandanas and ticking were the most popular motifs.

In 1833, Johan Ludwig Stifel, a young and poor German immigrant came to the United States after having been an apprentice dyer and calico printer in his homeland.

Walking barefoot to preserve his shoes, he reached the burgeoning city of Wheeling in West Virginia and began to work for a local farm. However his interest in textile dying returned and in 1835, he spent all his savings on a single bolt of unbleached cotton from the local mill, hand-dyed and sold it, then repeated the process another time. A new business was about to blossom.

Wheeling, as a growing industrial city, notably in the steel and cigar sectors required a large workforce and consequently cheap and reliable garments. Johan Ludwig Stifel decided to convert this demand in a business opportunity giving birth to a prosperous enterprise. Meanwhile, having been married to Barbara Becht, in 1859, his sons Louis and William joined the company which turned into J. L. Stifel & Sons. In the beginning of the twentieth century the third generation of Stifels was operating a 70,000 square foot manufacturing plant employing 50 workers.

The brand logo, a boot (meaning"stiefel" in German) with the word “stifel” inside, was definitely adopted. J.L.Stifel & Sons was associated with quality and their products were exported to Latin America, the Philippines, India, Canada and Africa reaching its peak with a monthly production of 3,5 million yards of clothes.



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