In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Guilford, Maine

Where history meets the future


History of Manufacturing
by Piscataquis Community Middle School 8th Grade Students
Included in the next two pages:

Draper's Mill
Interface Fabrics

Drapers Mill

By Kyla, Sam, and Deven
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

Have you ever wondered what used to be in the town of Guilford in the past? Here is a little bit about a simple wood mill called Drapers Mill.

After World War Ⅱ, in 1947, Drapers Mill was founded by Fletcher Pride. It was built in 1947-1948. The mill was located at 9 Oak Street in Guilford. The mill was built in that location to make use of the water power. Drapers Mill actually had two other names: Guilford Of Maine, and the name Prides came later on. The mill was built from scratch. They used wood, concrete and vinyl siding, and it took a couple years to complete. It was known for making hardwood products such as little beaded crafts and poles.

The vice president and manager of Drapers Mill was Samuel Bordman. In 1954 there was rapid growth of new equipment and they expanded their market. They sold out all over New England and the Mid Atlantic States. They sold beaded crafts, wooden checkers, and many more craft supplies. Drapers Mill was a supplier of box boards to other mills. In 1953, the mill closed down and Prides bought it a few years later.

In 1958, Prides opened in a different location. Prides Manufacturing Company is located at 169 Water Street in Guilford. Prides owned a saw mill that covered approximately 2,000 square feet. That helped them extremely. They sawed 4 foot bolt wood, mostly white birch and some maple. They used different types of wood for custom orders. They sawed the wood into boards and they were stacked and dried in kilns. After the boards were dried, they entered the mill and ran through a moulder. From the moulder, which is a machine that shapes wood with cutters like sharp knives, they went into wood-turning lathes. After all of that was done they sanded the wood in a drum with other wood until the pieces were smooth. They would just put the boards into the drum, which would spin for 5-6 hours. It would go counter clockwise then they would reverse it. Then the wood would go into a different drum and get painted. The painted boards were dried in a drawer with a screen on the bottom and a fan in the back. Pieces were sorted for quality, then packaged, and sent to sale departments. “Prides was definitely a fast-paced mill,” said Darius Desmarais, an employee of Prides at one point.

At one time Prides was one of the world’s largest golf tee manufacturers. Prides made golf tees for pro golfers such as Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. One out of every four tees were made there.

Prides built a state-of-the-art saw mill which was electronically automated and moved from the flood plains of Guilford to Burnham, which is about 25 minutes south of Newport.

Interface Fabrics

By Matt Stone and Luke Nadeau
Images from the Guilford Historical Society

The Interface Fabrics Mill was first made in 1865. It had several independent water wheels. It was not a very big mill in the 1800s. It started to improve in the 1930s. In the 1940s they added a new addition and they went from making $1 million a year to $80 million a year because of the improvements. Nothing major happened to the mill until the 1970s.

Interface Fabrics is the biggest mill in Guilford. Interface Fabrics is the biggest fabric mill in the 20th century. The mill founded flame retardant fabrics in 1974. The mill is over 150 years old. It is located on Route 15 in the center of Guilford, on the right coming from Dover before the green bridge. If you are coming from Sangerville, Parkman, or Abbot it is after the green bridge; it is on the left. The address is 9 Oak Street.

In 1979, Saulter joined the company as president. In 1991, they added a new addition which was over $8 million dollars. That was just offices.

The additions made in 1943 and 1991 were made out of metal and concrete. It never had to be restored because it's been a mill since it was made. They have had to do some repairs but not big ones. In the flood of 1987, they had to put new windows in the lower floors.