William Skinner and Sons black silk faille fabric length; 1932. Fabric known as faille or grosgrain. Soft, close, plain weave fabric, but with flat ribs produced by a coarse cotton filling yarn which is entirely covered by the very fine silk warp yarn. Used for women's shoes. Yard-dyed black. Selvedge says "Skinner's" woven in black.
William Skinner emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1843, finding work as silk dyer. He eventually opened his own silk manufacturing company, the Unquomonk Silk Co., making silk threads and yarns for weaving and sewing. In 1874, the mill was destroyed when the Mill River Dam gave way. Skinner moved his company a few miles away, to Holyoke, Massachusetts, and rebuilt the mill, expanding production to include woven fabrics (Skinner satins were nationally famous) and silk braids. He ran the company until his death in 1902, and the firm stayed in the family, and remained in operation in Holyoke, until 1961, when his heirs sold it to Indian head Mills, which immediately closed the Holyoke operation.