In 1889, Thomas Kay opened his first mill in Salem, Oregon where his eldest daughter, Fannie, learned the textile business. When she married retail merchant C.P. Bishop, a complementary combination of merchandising and manufacturing expertise emerged - a solid foundation for what was to become Pendleton Woolen Mills. In 1895, the company’s woolen mill began making bed blankets and robes for the American Indigenous community. In September of that same year, the first products emerged from the new finishing department and the tradition of Pendleton Woolen Mills began.
Pendleton is founded on an intimate knowledge of the wool business – from fiber to fabric. Whether it’s a wool garment, wool fabric, or a wool blanket, Pendleton offers over 100 years of expertise, imagination and dedication to quality. As a world-leading, vertically integrated wool manufacturer, Pendleton uses sophisticated information systems to ensure a balanced flow of raw materials through production and on to finished products available at top retailers across the globe.
Pendleton raw wool is processed before it is made into fabric, which is then constructed and woven into home and fashion products, as well as apparel and accessories for men and women. Our direct relationships with sheep farmers, and vertical manufacturing gives Pendleton the advantage of monitoring every step of the production process to maintain quality and value throughout at each stage of production. Our wool buyers shop world markets, but most of Pendleton's wool still comes from the United States.
From 1909, Pendleton has produced Indigenous blankets, robes and shawls. Today, Pendleton is deeply connected to the American Indigenous community. Prior to the introduction of mill techniques, traditional blankets were made from hides or pelts of smaller animals which had been sewn together or woven from wool, feathers, down, bark and cotton; and, in some areas, shredded cedar bark. These colourful blankets were integrated into everyday and ceremonial uses; part of a dowry, weddings, gift-giving, powwows, dance prizes, naming ceremonies, funerals and memorials.