Southern Textile Exposition

1915–2004

First envisioned in Atlanta, Georgia, by members of the Southern Textile Association (STA), the Southern Textile Exposition invited local textile representatives to exhibit their machinery, products, and services. Unable to hold the show in Atlanta, the STA urged business leaders in Greenville, South Carolina, to sponsor the event in 1915. Soon a Greenville committee, led by Milton Smith, rented space at a local warehouse, initially attracting 169 exhibitors and more than 40,000 people. With the exposition’s overwhelming success, a “Textile Hall” was constructed in 1917 for $130,000 by the J. E. Sirrine Company to host the event. Aided by the influx of northern textile companies, the Southern Textile Exposition soon became a symbol of the state’s growing industrial economy.

By 1946 Greenville was quickly becoming the “Textile Capital of the World.” Bertha Green, an assistant to William G. Sirrine, advised moving the exposition to a larger facility. With the opening of the spacious new Textile Hall in 1964 and the enormous growth of the Piedmont’s textile industry, Greenville soon attracted its first international exhibitors. In 1969 the STA joined with the New Jersey–based American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) to sponsor the American Textile Machinery Exhibition (ATME), the largest textile machinery show ever held in the United States. By 1973 the ATME became a two-show format every three years. Each show included a variety of exhibits and workshops featuring machinery, supplies, and services. In 2004 ATME met for the first complete exhibition in thirty years and for the final time at Greenville’s Palmetto Expo Center.

Huff, Archie Vernon, Jr. Greenville: A History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Southern Textile Exposition
  • Coverage 1915–2004
  • Author
  • Keywords Southern Textile Association (STA), the Southern Textile Exposition invited local textile representatives to exhibit their machinery, products, and services, became a symbol of the state’s growing industrial economy, American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) to sponsor the American Textile Machinery Exhibition (ATME),
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date December 2, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 24, 2022
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