Charles E. Stanfield had no idea when he immigrated to Canada in 1855 that he would found the firm that is a leader in its field today.
Charles, along with his brother-in-law, Samuel E. Dawson, founded the Tryon Woolen Mills in Tryon, P.E.I. in 1856. Ten years later he sold his interests to Samuel and moved to Nova Scotia where he founded the Truro Woolen Mills in 1870. It was believed to be the first factory of its kind in Canada.
Building A Brand
Charles was a creative genius. He maintained a workshop in a barn behind his house where he spent the majority of his time creating new equipment and products.
He developed and manufactured the first cardigan jackets and stockinettes in Canada. He introduced Canadians to heavy rib underwear and the famous “Drop Seat.” He also manufactured sweater cloth and knitting yarn.
In 1896, Charles sold his business to his two sons, John and Frank Stanfield who had their own vision for the company’s future. They believed the way to build a reputation was to build a stable product line in one specific field, despite their father’s advisement otherwise. They chose to specialize in knitted merchandise and renamed the company the Truro Knitting Mills Limited, accordingly. It was a good decision.
We Are Unshrinkable
Together, John and Frank developed the famous “Shrink-proof Process” which catapulted the little Truro underwear company to fame.
The Klondike Gold Rush of 1897 provided them with their first big break where some 100,000 people, spurred by rumors of gold, made their way north to the harsh terrain of the Yukon. The Stanfield’s “Unshrinkable” Underwear was pivotal to the would-be-prospectors and miners who could find no substitute for the warm, heavy, woolly underwear.
Stanfield’s Limited went on to incorporate in 1906. During World War 1, they manufactured wool blankets, knitting yarn and cloth that provided a major impetus for the expansion of the Firm. After the war, John Stanfield was appointed to the Senate.
The Building Block
The early 1920’s marked a turning point when a peroxide process was developed to bleach underwear, opposed to the sulphur process that left a distinct odour behind.
Stanfield’s also began carbonizing wool, a process that produced a much softer fabric. The late twenties saw the first line of cotton combinations and the use of synthetic rayon was used to produce ladies’ undergarments.
Stanfield’s entered the undershirt and brief field in the late thirties, two-piece winter underwear in the forties, and Thermal underwear in the fifties. The latter two gradually took over the winter underwear market, providing the building blocks for the company’s product growth over the many years to follow. Stanfield’s is also responsible for popularizing the T-shirt in Canada as well as men’s Polo Pyjamas.
An Industry Leader
Today, Stanfield’s is a leader in its field, taking pride in its products and ability to adapt and stay ahead of consumer market needs and wants.
Whether it be introducing new fabrics, blends or styles, we’ve always stood by our basic policy of “the best product at reasonable prices,” and will continue to do so as we move forward. Fashion forward, technologically advanced, and when possible the majority of its products will be made in Canada. Stanfield’s is a specialist in underwear products and has rightfully earned its reputation as ‘the Underwear Company’.