Draper Complex History
Fact Sheet & Studies
Draper Corporation was founded in 1816, and was the original owner and operator of the complex in Hopedale. For most of the corporation's life it was a world-leader in textile machinery. Even in 1965, Draper was still the largest domestic textile machine manufacturer and 500th largest U.S. industrial corporation.
Rockwell-Standard aquired Draper Corporation in 1967. Shortly afterward, Rockwell-Standard merged with North American Aviation to form North American Rockwell, which became the 28th largest U.S. corporation. The comany renamed itself Rockwell International in 1973.
For the period from 1973-1980, the plant in Hopedale operated as part of Rockwell's "Draper Division." Through the 1970's though, various factors burdened Rockwell's operation of the plant. Loom orders had decreased to less than 1,000 by 1979, transport costs between Hopedale and Rockwell's other plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina (incidentally, Draper Corporation had also owned and founded the Spartanburg plant), and new government safety and noise regulations governing the Draper looms meant by 1980, Rockwell was forced to close the plant.
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