Living Linen Interview LL2_R00/36 2 of 2


Sound Recording on Reel: Moygashel Research. Library Transcript: Transcript. Summary: In 1944 Mr Brown joined Stevenson's & Sons, later Moygashel, as a management trainee. In 1960 Brown & Adam was formed as a commission dyeing and finishing operation within the Moygashel group. This distinction was important to outside customers (weavers and converters) who would have regarded Moygashel as rivals. The Moygashel group had established quality standards for different types of fabric: weight, strength, durability, etc. The government adopted these standards for their utility number cloths. Moygashel had three major sections: apparels, household and furnishings. A considerable emphasis was placed on R & D, especially under Max Eitel. The firm developed all of their own fabrics, had fully equipped research and testing laboratories, and quickly became known as innovators within the trade. Jim Brown became head of the laboratory in 1947. In 1978 he was appointed bleaching and finishing manager. Brown & Adam finished all of Moygashel' s cloth. Printed cloth was an exception. As the company used commission printers, such as Clendinnings, the preparation processes were left to them. Moygashel was known as, 'Masters of mixture' a term referring to their use of blended yarns. On the apparel side linen was combined with rayon and polyester. The Springbak fabric was 67% polyester / 33% linen. This helped enhance the crease-resistance properties of the fabric while retaining as natural a linen look and feel as possible. As the resins were pushed into the fibres, there was no residue on the surface to affect the look, feel or drape of the cloth. Moygashel produced most of their own resins. Most of the company’s yarns were purchased in-house from Braidwater in Ballymena. Mr Brown was also involved in testing yarns and cloth for tensile strength, elasticity, abrasion resistance and tear resistance. Moygashel also produced an easy-care range of household linens, which were fully washable, anti-shrink, fade resistant, easily ironed and drip-dry. Shirt interlinings were designed to withstand a minimum of 200 washes and had a shrink tolerance of 0.1%. In conjunction with their customers on the retail side, Moygashel devised care instructions for their garments. As Moygashel were producing at the very top end of the market quality control was especially important. All Moygashel branded products came with a guarantee. On the furnishing side, the company had to keep abreast of ever-tightening safety regulations - particularly flammability. Flame retardant properties were also important in the household section where bedding and curtains were supplied to the Hospital Authorities. Although Moygashel had the capacity to apply their own flame resistant finishes to cloth, this was usually left to the printers. When Moygashel was bought over by Courtaulds (and later by Lamonts again) the dyeing and finishing plant was closed. Mr Brown became Technical Director for the Moygashel group. Braidwater was also closed at this time. The workforce has contracted from some 3,000 at its peak to around 100 today. Over the years Mr Brown noted that the percentage of linen processed was decreasing. Over recent years there has been a linen revival and Moygashel is now more linen orientated. Although linen has revived it is now a luxury rather than a utility dress fabric. The average lea of an apparel yarn today is 50-60, as compared with 25. Mr Brown retired in 1989. Although offered the opportunity to instruct the Chinese on linen dyeing and finishing, he refused out of loyalty to the Irish linen industry.

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Living Linen Interview LL2_R00/36 1 of 2

Living Linen Interview LL2_R00/36 1 of 2

Sound Recording on Reel: Moygashel Research. Library Transcript: Transcript. Summary: In 1944 Mr Brown joined Stevenson's & Sons, later Moygashel, as ...