1905 – National Felt Co. Established
National Felt Company founded in Easthampton, MA originating as a manufacturer of wool felt for use in apparel and home furnishings. Easthampton is in western Massachusetts, an area best known for its impact on the Industrial Revolution in America. National Felt Co occupied several of the now historic mill buildings in Easthampton, including some of the West Boylston Manufacturing buildings.1905
1910s – WWI Military Contracts
Business expanded during WWI as National Felt Company supplies felt and other textile materials to the U.S. Government. National Felt – and later National Nonwovens – continues manufacturing nonwoven fabric for military applications for the next century.
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1934 – Commonwealth Felt Co. Created
National Felt creates a converting company named Commonwealth Felt. (A textile converter is a company that takes rolled fabric goods and manages the “finishing” process.) Commonwealth Felt’s main converting facility is in nearby Northampton with corporate sales offices in Boston, MA.1934
1950s – 1960s – Wool Felt Popular for Poodle Skirts and More.
Wool felt from Commonwealth Felt used for the popular poodle skirts of the era. The company also produces wool felt for novelty hats – including Mickey Mouse hats for Disney – and sells wool felt directly to consumers for popular holiday crafts.1950s – 1960s
1970s –Technical Nonwovens Emerges for Progressive Markets
Demand for technical nonwovens increases and National Felt produces highly specialized nonwovens for progressive markets such as Medical and Filtration. During this time, demand for wool felt used by crafters decreases as retail stores push inexpensive, synthetic felt instead of natural felt.1970s
1980s –Textile Industry in US declines. Owners sell National Felt Company
Textile companies in the United States struggle as strong competition from Asia and increased supply costs escalate. In 1988 the owners sell National Felt Company.1980s
1990s – Company Restructures with New Management
New management restructures the company and centralizes businesses in Easthampton. Commonwealth Felt Converting Division is rolled into National Nonwovens’ Craft & Hobby Division, eliminating retail sales.
Consumers start preferring natural fiber products once again for do-it-yourself heirloom projects
1995 – National Felt Co changes name to National Nonwovens
New ownership continues to advance in the development of highly engineered nonwoven materials. Company name was changed to National Nonwovens.1995
2000s – Demand for natural wool felt increases.
National Nonwovens’ trademarked WoolFelt® surges in popularity as consumers continue to seek natural products. Project designers love WoolFelt® because of its high quality, incredible value, and impressive color palette.2000s
2005 – National Nonwovens introduces natural roving fiber for felting
2009 – National Nonwovens introduces bamboo-rayon XoticFelt
2009 – Commonwealth Felt Reestablished with New Online Retail Store
National Nonwovens brings back its Commonwealth Felt business unit by launching an online store. For the first time in over two decades, WoolFelt® and other felt products are sold directly to consumers
2010 – WoolFelt from National Nonwovens popular worldwide
Wool felt is now featured prominently in industry publications, books, patterns and is popular worldwide with designers and consumers.2010
2017 – Craft & Hobby Division Rebranded as the Arts & Education Division
National Nonwovens evolved its flagship Craft & Hobby Division as the Arts & Education Division to focus on the growing markets in textile arts and education products.2017
2020 – New E-commerce Commonwealth Felt Site is Launched.
As consumers require more options in online purchasing, National Nonwovens invests in technology to enhance the customer and user experience with a greatly improved Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) website.2020