Inman Mills began in 1902 when James A. Chapman opened a four-hundred-loom and fifteen-thousand-spindle plant in the town of Inman in Spartanburg County. The mill made high quality greige, cloth that comes straight from the loom and is gray, rough, and full of blemishes. By 1909 the plant had doubled in capacity, and a four-story addition was added in 1920.
The company’s success prompted further expansion. Chapman acquired Riverdale Mills in Enoree in 1934 and merged it with Inman in 1954. Having outgrown the original plant, the mill replaced it with the newly built Saybrook Plant in 1959 in Inman. The Ramey Plant, a 1959 improvement, and the Mountain Shoals Plant, a 1990 addition, were both constructed in Enoree.
Inman Mills uses air-jet and rapier weaving with open-end and air-jet spinning to produce high quality blended greige goods, woven cotton, poly/cotton, and polyester. Inman’s major products include oxford (a soft, porous fabric), pique (a medium-to heavy-weight cotton cloth with raised cords), poplin (a tightly woven, high-count cotton), dobby (a heavy cotton with woven geometric figures), and sateen (a satinlike cotton). The fabrics are used in draperies, upholstery, home furnishings, pocketing, and apparel as well as for industrial and institutional purposes. In 2004 the company operated three plants, one at Inman and two at Enoree, which provided jobs to 534 employees.
Jackson, Bobby Dean. “Textiles in the South Carolina Piedmont: A Case Study of the Inman Mills, 1900–1967.” Master’s thesis, Auburn University, 1968.