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Author: Gruber, Edward L., interviewee
Interview conducted by Bulla, Ben
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
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Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
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Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
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Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-12-12, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Edward L. Gruber, November 11, 1985. Interview C-0136. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0136)
Author: Ben Bulla
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Edward L. Gruber, November 11, 1985. Interview C-0136. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0136)
Author: Edward L. Gruber
Description: 309 Mb
Description: 45 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 11, 1985, by Ben Bulla; recorded in Pottsdown, Pennsylvania.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Edward L. Gruber, November 11, 1985.
Interview C-0136. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Gruber, Edward L., interviewee


Interview Participants

    EDWARD L. GRUBER, interviewee
    BEN BULLA, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BEN BULLA:
This is Ben Bulla, I am in my Holliday Inn room in Pottstown, Pa. I flew from the Greensboro, NC airport to Philadelphia yesterday afternoon; arrived in Philadelphia around 2:00 P.M., rented a car and drove out to Pottstown for the night. My appointment with Edward L. Gruber (known as Ed), one of our biggest customers in the yarn mkt. of Sellers Mfg. Co. and affiliates. Ed owned and operated the Spring City Mills at Spring City, Pa., he also had a number of knitting mills that supplied him knitted goods, and Sellers Mfg. Co., Jordan Spinning Co. and Royal Cotton Mill Co. provided yarn to these knitters for Ed's account. I am looking forward to my meeting with Ed because B. Everett Jordan, the man whose biography I'm attempting to compile and write, held Ed Gruber in the highest esteem, and our companies were closely involved with each other for many years.
One comment about my trip thus far: As I flew in to Philadelphia, this large city, and drove the distance from Philadelphia to Pottstown, my mind went back to the days when Everett Jordan must have traveled these many miles by plane and by car—many times by car—and I tried to imagine how he must have planned his sales pitch to convince Ed Gruber, and many more like him, to buy yarn from our plants. Everett Jordan was known as a good salesman, and I'm hoping Ed Gruber can give me some insight on how Everett Jordan worked with him.
Ed, before we get into your dealings with Everett Jordan, how about giving me some background on you and your career.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
My father came down off the farm up here in Berks County. He was one of 14 children and his mother and father lived on a little farm. Thirty-eight acres isn't quite big enough to raise 14 children you know. What they did; as soon as the kids would get big enough they would farm them out to the neighbors and they would work for the neighbors you know. So my father was farmed out and the man that he worked for told him that if he got the corn in by Thanksgiving, why he would give him a ticket to come down to Spring City to visit his sister. His sister was married and lived down in Spring City. So he came down, and didn't have anything else to do so he went along to work with his brother-in-law on Thanksgiving. He was a pattern maker in a foundry, and right next to it was an underwear mill. So my dad was wandering around and he walked over into the basement of the

Page 2
underwear mill and in those days everything was shipped in wooden cases, just like the yarn was shipped in wooden cases way back then. My dad couldn't speak English, spoke Pennsylvania German up in Berks County, so the man said to my father, "Dutchie you going to loaf around here?" My dad said, "Oh I'm just looking around." Then the man said, "Then pick up a box of nails and a hammer and do something." So he picked up a box of nails and a hammer and he started to make wooden cases for shipment, and he made about twice as many boxes or cases as the men that were working there. He did that on Thursday, Friday and on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon the man that owned the underwear mill said to my father, "You're going to come to work here Monday morning." And my father said, "No, I can't I've got to go back to the farm." He said, "I didn't ask you whether you were going back to the farm, I said you were going to come to work here Monday morning." So my dad went back home and got his clothes and came back Sunday night and went to work Monday morning in the mill. They paid my dad $4 a week and he said that's too much money for a young fellow like you so he said, "Here's a dollar, and I'll keep the other money for you." And within two or three years he was superintendent of the plant. During that time he never gave my dad any money; he was keeping it for him. About seven or eight years later my dad went to him and he says, "I want a thousand dollars of my money." He said, "What do you want it for?" Dad said, "I want to buy a house because I want to get married." Dad was then about twenty -two or three years old. He said, "You're too young to get married, wait for a year and then get married." So he waited a year and went to him for the money and he

Page 3
gave him about half of what my dad wanted, and he told him to get a mortgage for the other half. Well to make a long story short, he wouldn't give him his money and in the meantime my father got to know the mlll agents in New York that used to sell the underwear for these people and they—they never talked to the owner of this mill they always talked to my father. He made the samples for them and if they wanted an order real quick they would write or send a telegram to my father—I don't think they used the telephone too much in those days—My dad told one of these fellows from New York that he was going to quit; that he had let his money stay in there—my dad didn't even know how much money the fellow owed him. He had a pretty good idea; it was maybe eight or nine thousand dollars—ten thousand dollars that had accumulated over a period of about ten years I guess. So he said, "I'm going to quit, and if you don't give me my money by Friday night, I'm going to quit." The man asked him what he was going to do, and dad said, "I'm going into the underwear business, and in two years time I may get enough money in the underwear business to buy and sell you." He quit and went into the underwear business with $256.
BEN BULLA:
The guy didn't pay him?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
No. So he quit, and my father didn't know, but one of the mill agents called a couple of the yarn mills and people like that and told them that there was a little Dutch guy there in Spring City—sell him anything that he wants, he's not going to ask for any more than he needs, and he'll pay it, and if he don't, I'll pay it. Dad never knew that for years—that somebody was guaranteeing his account you know. He just thought that it was no trouble getting credit, so my

Page 4
dad went into the business with $256 and he never borrowed a penny in his life. In all the years that he was in business he never borrowed a penny. The first money that Spring City Knitting Co. ever borrowed, I borrowed $100,000 one time a few years after I was out of school.
BEN BULLA:
Did he call it Spring City Knitting?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yeah. He bought two used sewing machines and a knitting machine. He only made one size underwear, but he was smart enough to figure out that if he made the smaller size, it didn't cost as much and he got just as much for the small size as you did for the big size. He had one girl that ran the sewing machine and he ran the knitting machine. I have all of the original books right from the day one, and all his accounts. When I was growing up I wanted to work in the mill and he sent me away to prep school. I came home one summer and I told my dad that I wasn't going to go back to Mercersberg. I had it all figured out that I would try to butter him up real good. I told him that if I spent another year at prep school then another four years in college thats five years. In five years time, I said, "I could learn more from you in the underwear business. Why do I have to learn Spanish and French, Geometry and history to make underwear." He didn't say anything. So I packed all my clothes and came home. Four O'clock in the morning came time to get up go to work. Cutting grass and stuff over at the farm. I was up at four o'clock every morning and worked until about five o'clock or six o'clock in the afternoon. He farmed me out. I worked for about three months with a farmer. I didn't even live at home, I lived with the farmer

Page 5
up on the third floor. Come September, nobody wanted to go back to school any worse than I did. I was fed up with that working business—getting up at four o'clock in the morning you know, and working all day, so I asked my dad about going back to school. He said, "Well you quit, how do you know they are going to take you back." He had already sent the check and made arrangements for me to go back.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
. . . just one summer running knitting machines. I believe that was my freshman year in college. And the next year I wanted to work in the mill and he wouldn't let me work in the mill because the whole next year, all the bad cloth they had and everything that went wrong with the cloth, they all said, "that was the cloth that Edward made. He was running the knitting machines here last summer; that was made on his machines." My fathers only answer was, "Well I guess that if what you tell me is so, you guys must have sat on your ass all summer long and let Edward run all the knitting machines, because he sure made one helluva pile of cloth." As a result of that he wouldn't let me go back to work there.
I got married the day after I got out of college and we went up to our place in Canada and came back ten days later and went to work and have been working there ever since.
On the first day at work—I knew my father got there early so I thought I'd get there early too—I walked into the office at 5:30 and my father looked at his watch and he says, "This is a helluva time for anybody to come to work the first day on the job! you must want a job awful damn bad if you can't get to work on time." This was 5:30 in the morning. So the next morning I got there at 5:00—he was still there. The first day I was there I asked him what I was supposed

Page 6
to do. There was a little old office there with an old oak dest in it; wasn't a piece of paper on it; no pad on it; just empty. Empty drawers. There was a note pad and two lead pencils—he said that's your desk out there, go to work. I said, "What am I supposed to do." He said, "You must have a helluva good education if you can't find something to do around this place." So, I got out and I just started walking around through the plant. I started on the top floor in the cutting department and I walked all around down through the mill and wound up down in the basement. There was an old man down there making wooden cases—my life has paralleled my father's so often, and the older I get the more I realize how much we are alike; I see it happening all the time. I used to think that we were just the opposite, but the older I get the more I realize—and my wife says I'm just like my father was—there were about three men standing there waiting for the old man to make the wooden cases, but they didn't bother helping him none, so I picked up a box of nails and started helping him make cases. Within about an hours time we not only had the cases they wanted—they used to send down a piece of paper with the cases they needed listed. He was supposed to keep some of every size on hand. Well we made cases all morning long and we had cases piled all over the place. There wasn't any place to put them so I jumped in the elevator—we had one of those old elevators—and I went up on the first floor where they were packing. They had several cases sitting there part full and I asked them about it and they said they were short 2 dozen of size 44, etc. So I went looking for the guys that take care of the folding and the pressing and boxing and I asked them where such and such size was and I go find it and take it over to them so they could get that

Page 7
order out. Then go get another order finished; then go get another order finished. We go to the point I asked this fellow—they didn't come down from the sewing room yet. This all happens all in one day. So I go up to the second floor and ask the foreman of the sewing department. I said, "look, they are waiting for some size 44—this was all women's underwear at that time—I say's size 44 women's bloomers or whatever it might be, and so I carried him around—maybe all they needed was just a label sewn in—carry them over to the girl and get the labels sewed in and take 'em down and finish that order, and find out what they were waiting for now. So I ran back and forth from cutting to sewing to packing to try and cut down on the down time. And then to the bleach house, and found that the cloth they were waiting for had been there two weeks with new cloth piled up in front of it. So we dug that out and got it bleached real quickly then back to the knitting room. And back and forth—everybody was just doing the easy thing first—so spending a couple of weeks like that, I got to know real quickly what the hell was going on around the plant. That's how I learned the underwear business in just about two or three weeks just by finding out what was wrong. Everybody being out of stuff. As far as I was concerned the main thing was to get those orders out the back door. I used to go down there at night and look over the orders and find out where everything was and leave word for them when they came to work the next morning what had to be done first so that we could get these orders moving.
I did that for a couple of months. The first of October my dad had his man friday that ran the office; he sent in the specifications to the yarn shippers and he bought all the little supplies, the labels and things like that, and

Page 8
my father's brother-in-law, my uncle that my father had come to visit that worked in the foundry—he brought him over and he was sort of the plant superintendent. Well it was between Bill Council, his man Friday in the office, and my uncle. They were the two people that ran the place for my dad, although it was a one man show, my dad wouldn't let them buy a broom to sweep the floor without his permission. Nobody did anything without his permission. He bought the yarn and put the prices on everything and did the selling. At the end of September, Bill Castle, in the office, he got T. B., and the doctor's told him he had to get out of the office. They sent him up to the mountains—the Poconos for fresh air. Two weeks after he was gone my uncle had a heart attack and died so there was nobody around there that had ever said yes or no. The day of my uncle's funeral my father took sick and he wound up in the hospital over in Philadelphia and he was in and out of the hospital for over a year. So with the three of them gone I had to say yes or no, somebody had to say something whether it was right or wrong. I made my share of mistakes. I've always said that the only reason that I learned the underwear business was because I had a chance to make more mistakes than anybody in the world. The only way you can ever get an education is to make mistakes. So I was running the mill because there wasn't anybody else to do it. I hired somebody to do the work in the office—I fiddled around with it a little bit—I was just running around putting out brush fires. We got through the first year and the beginning of the next year. My wife came home—her mother had taken her to New York—and she bought home a pair of panties that she had paid $4 for, they were made by Van Ralt. I didn't know anything about knitting so I took it into

Page 9
our head knitter and I ask him if we couldn't knit that on our knitting machines. He told me that he had learned to knit on that kind of stuff. I pointed out to him that it had two different kinds of stitches in it. He said that there were automatic attachments that were on all these old machines years ago, and that my father had them all taken off, but they were in boxes underneath the tables on the third floor where we stored all the cloth. So he went and dug out all those parts for one of the machines and made a sample for me. It was made out of natural yarn—he said you had to make it out of dyed yarn because you couldn't dye it. I figured out the cost on the deal—that was one of the first arguments me and my father ever had was about figuring cost, because when I was at the WHARTON School I majored in cost accounting. I took all of my father's cost sheets. I told him one day that the way he was figuring cost he only knew the cost on the cheapest thing he was making. The reason I was telling you about the panties . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
At the beginning of the snuggies business we made the samples—I told them to set up 4 machines—we had to have 4 sizes—but it had to be made out of mercerized yarn. Now—the last year I was in college, that was the summer of 1930—Everett came up to visit my father and my father took him over to this farm where I live now. He bought the farm in 1927 and in '28 and '29 he was rebuilding the house and doing a lot of landscaping. When Everett went back home he went out and dug up a bunch of holly trees and sent them up to my father to plant around the house, and there are still some of those trees out there. They've been there since 1930. They were native North Carolina hollys, but they never got any red berries on them. Don't your hollys get berries?

Page 10
BEN BULLA:
Some do; I have some that do.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
I have a lot of English hollys that I got some time ago; when I bought them I got 4 females and 1 male. You have to have both male and female or they won't pollinate. I guess that may be the reason that we never got any berries on the holly trees that Everett sent up to my dad. I could see Everett Jordan riding around the farm up there around those holly trees.
We needed some pink 60/2 mercerized yarn. The only mercerized yarn that we used was maybe 2 cases a month; I believe it was 30/2; it was used as a curving thread for flat lock machines. That was the only mercerized yarn that we used and the only mercerizer that I knew was Everett Jordan. I'd never met Everett other than that summer up at the house. I called him on the phone and told him that I needed some 60/2 dyed pink and asked if he could get it for me. "Oh yes," he said; so he shipped me up a case of 60/2 mercerized yarn and I made up the samples and I figured it out-
BEN BULLA:
Was it dyed pink?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Oh yes. I don't know whether he had a dyeing plant at that time or not, but he sent out to somebody and had it dyed. I think I remember that, because I remember when he put in the dye plant there. I figured out that the 60/2 mercerized pink—I believe that was around 64¢ a pound at that time. Oh I don't think it was as high as 70¢, I believe it was 62¢ or 64¢. I took these samples up to New York and the only ones that I could find anyplace were at Burgoff-Goodman's where my mother-inlaw had bought them for my wife at $4.50 a pair. So I asked them how much we could sell these for; I said I could make

Page 11
them for $2.25 a dozen. My cost came out to about $1.98—just under $2 a dozen. So I figured if I could get a quarter a dozen (25¢ profit) I'd be in clover because we were used to making a cent and a cent and a half a dozen or maybe two cents. This guy said, "Hell matey, I can get $4.50 a dozen for them as easy as I can $2.25 a dozen." He went out and sold them for $4.50 a dozen—to make a long story short. But then in two or three weeks we had enough orders to run the mill full time for a whole year solid at $4.50 a dozen.
BEN BULLA:
What year was this now?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
This would be the spring of 1932, because I got out of college in '31—this would be the next spring of '32. My father had never done a half a million in sales a year; that year we did $850,000 worth of business and had $490,000 profit. My father got out of the hospital and went down to Florida—first time he was ever in Florida—and he bought a house down in St. Petersburg—He'd come once a month to tell me what to do and so—but we made so much money that first year—he couldn't believe the figures. As a matter of fact he came home and shut the mill down for three days to take inventory. I told him he had better not take inventory for if you do you're going to increase the profits by another $100,000. But we took the inventory and I showed him the results—and he still said there was something wrong. I had pulled out everything I could; there were sheets of goods that had been around there two or three months or more I'd just write "no value"—a lot of yarn we were having a lot of trouble with, I'd just write "no value" on it. He just couldn't believe we had made that much profit. After that he wouldn't go into the mill for three years. He said the mill's there, you run it, and as long as you don't lose any money

Page 12
it's yours to run. I don't understand your way of keeping books and figuring cost so you run it. For one year we kept two sets of books. We kept books and cost sheets made his way and another set made my way. Finally he said to stop making two sets; that I was wasting my time.
BEN BULLA:
Did he say do it your way or his way?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
He said do it my way—the University of Pennsylvania way.
So Everett started making all this mercerized yarn for me, and got to using so much of it that Everett couldn't make enough of it. So I got Ewing-Thomas over here—owned by Cannon mills at that time I think. We used nothing but mercerized yarn for about two and one-half years. Everybody else got into the act—when you're making that kind of money everybody wants to make it too. I started to make $2 or $3 a dozen—we had been lucky to make 25¢ or 40¢ a dozen. Everett was charging me for the 60/2 mercerized—Ewing Thomas wanted like 10¢ a pound more, so I asked Everett—this is where Everett starts becoming Everett Jordan. He is probably—well not probably—he was the most honest man that I ever met in my life. We were sitting over at Spring City one day and he said, "Well I'm gonna tell you all about the Durene Association." He says, "We have a meeting about once a year up in New York, and someone would get up and say, ‘Well it costs so much to make 60/2, etc, and anybody that sells for less than that would be a damn fool wouldn't they? Is there anybody in this room that is going to say that he is a damn fool, or that he is gonna be a damn fool.’" Of course no one said they were, so that set the price of yarn and nobody would undersell that price; it was a fixed price. So Everett explained this whole thing to me. He said He didn't want me to tell anybody nothing, but you just pay him whatever it is and whatever help

Page 13
you need on it I'll help you. I told him that if I had to pay him 10¢ more a pound that I was going to be in bad shape. He told me that he was doing all right and that maybe he could sell to me for 5¢ a pound less. If you buy two pounds from me and one from them you're ahead of the game. That's how I got into the mercerized yarn business with Everett.
That program lasted for a few years, but in the meantime I got women's underwear—I could see that we were not going to make cotton rib-knit underwear for women—everyone was making rayon underwear. Everysince then it's been man-made fibers. Maybe today they might be using some cotton, but not a helluva lot. I don't believe my wife has any cotton underwear. I got into men's underwear and we went to the carded yarn; the combed yarn. We were selling underwear for $1.57½ a dozen—that's when Penney's was selling underwear for 19¢ a pair. This is a long and drawn out story, but I have to tell you all of this as background. Since I knew you were coming up I started thinking about my relationship with Everett and I was going to make some notes and then I realized that I didn't have any idea what kind of information you were looking for, so I made no notes.
My father had sold underwear through the jobbers. He wouldn't let me sell to the chain stores; Penney's or Sears, or Montgomery Ward or anybody like that because over here in Spring City at one time there was seven cast iron stove plants. They made kitchen stoves and things like that; then they modernized them a little bit and put a gas burner one side; then along came the electric stoves and the cast iron stoves went out, but in the meantime those stoves plants in Spring City and Rorey's Ford started going broke one by one. They sold to Sears, Roebuck and Sears would take all they could make and they could tell

Page 14
them the next year what the price would be and they would go broke—then they would go to the next one and they'd go broke, so he forbade me to do business with any of the chain stores. This was at the bottom of the depression—in '33 the banks closed; there was no business at all, but I went up to Penney's in Pottstown and got some of their samples and I took them back and made samples and I took them up and I showed it to the buyer. I said, "This is what I bought in the store and here's what I can make for you and what I made is so much better than what you have." This fellow turned blue in the face—this was around ten o'clock in the morning-and he says, "Young man you go out and sit down, I want to talk to you later on." I sat there until 12 o'clock and he took me out to lunch. He sat there and he started to tell me, "Never, never tell a buyer that you can make something better than what he's buying, because that'a reflecting on his ability." He spent about 2 hours lecturing me on how to talk to a buyer and how to sell underwear for about 2 hours. When I first walked in his office he said, "What are you doing here?" I said, "I got about a hundred people over there in Spring City that have to eat and I don't have any business for them, and you sell more underwear than anybody else in the country that I know of. I'd like to sell you about 10,000 dozen. That will keep these people working so they can eat." He said, "What makes you think that everyone else that we have been buying from is not in the same position." I said, "Well, I'm going to make it better and cheaper too. The main thing is, I want my plant to be your warehouse. You have little stores and you don't have room to store stuff and when you want it I'll ship it the same day you send me the order." Well I

Page 15
went home that night, after getting a lecture, figuring I'd never get back in his place again. I opened the mail the next moring and there was an order in the mail for 25,000 dozen at $1.6½ a dozen; I had quoted him a $1.57½. So I called him on the telephone and told him about the difference. He said, "I thought I told you yesterday never to criticize a buyer. At a $1.57½ a dozen you'll go broke; at a $1.62½ you can make some money. How fast can you make it?" I said, "Thank you sir. I told how fast I could make it and he didn't believe me. He said he wanted to know every day how many dozen finished goods we had in inventory. In a couple of weeks time I had about 10,000 dozen. He didn't believe I had them. I was counting the dozens that were going to be finished within the next day or two. It was around 4:30 in the afternoon, and he said, "I want you to ship 10,000 today." We had to work until about eleven o'clock that night to get the 10,000, but we shipped it. So that's how I got in with Penney's.
BEN BULLA:
Was that carded yarn?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yes. Then we went into combed yarn because we couldn't make any money for 19¢ underwear and I figured at $2 they could sell for a quarter or 25¢ instead of 19¢ so I made them combed yarn. They told me they were making more money on 25¢ underwear than on 19¢, so they moved up to that. We got so we were practically running the whole plant for Penney's.
BEN BULLA:
Was 25¢ the price for one item?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yes, for one garment. They paid $3 and a 3% markup that brought them down to the $2 see, so they sold them for a quarter which would be $3 a dozen. I had to have something better so I asked Everett. I told him we had gone from carded yarn to combed yarn and I'd like

Page 16
to have something that we could sell for $2.50 a dozen. What could I make it out of. He said, "2 ply yarn." So he made me 50/2 and 60/2 mercerized yarn and we made three for a dollar underwear. It was the first three-in-a-pack underwear that was ever sold in the United States; Durene mercerized cotton, 3 for a dollar. I made them for Penney's. We had to fold them and put them on cardboard and we took an electric iron and heat sealed them.
BEN BULLA:
What year was this?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
This would be about 1933 - 34. They had to be folded so the customer could see there was three garments in there. Here is the first pack we ever made; look how yellow the waist-bands have turned. This is how Everett and I became so close. We used 2 ply yarn for a few months and Penney's then wanted something for a big sale, and it had to be different than what they had. They wanted it for some anniversary or something. They were willing to sell it for almost nothing. Everett said to make it out of mercerized and put the Durene label on it. So we not only made it out of Durene but we put it in the package. So that mercerized became the biggest program in the whole country. We started to use more mercerized yarn—well we used mercerized yarn for years, all during the war. I wouldn't bid on any government underwear because I was so damn busy with all this stuff; we kept growing so damn fast. That fellow that had lectured me over there, he kept pushing me. I remember one year when he asked me what was the most business I had ever done. I told him around $700,000 to $750,000. He knew my father didn't like J. C. Penney and he wouldn't have anything to do with Penney or anybody that was connected. He came awful close to running me the hell out because I was doing business with Penney's.

Page 17
So Ross Dillon and I became very—he said I want you to do a million in sales this year. So he called me around the middle of December and wanted to know what my sales were to date. I told him it was around $900,000 plus. He said I want you to ship a million dollars of underwear this year. I want you to call Pop Gruber and tell him that you shipped a million dollars worth of underwear. Here's enough orders that are supposed to be shipped in January or February, but I want you to ship them in December so you can get your million in sales. Well that continued, and the next year it had to be 2 million dollars. Take that and show it to Pop Gruber, he said.
So that three-in-a-pack thing was so successful that they made all stores carry it. At first it was only their bigger stores. Penney only had about eight or nine hundred stores at that time and maybe they had mercerized underwear in three or four hundred stores, but then they insisted that all the stores carry it. All the stores—the only thing they would have on the counter would be mercerized yarns. Everett and I were sitting over in Spring City one day and I told him that the Swiss ribbed shirts made of mercerized yarn, when they are bleached they lose their elasticity. He said, "Why don't you make them out of bleached yarn?" So we made the Swiss-ribbed out of the bleached yarn. At some place in along there he put in a bleaching kier. I think he started bleaching yarn before he started the dyed. I'm pretty sure he bleached the yarn himself—it was down in a basement somewhere where he had the mercerizing. Everett not only sold me mercerized yarn that was cheaper than these other people, but his mercerized yarn was better. He had some trouble—Penney's had some of the packaged

Page 18
underwear in the window, and where the sun hit it it was yellow. Everett said that when they mercerized it they didn't get all the caustic out of it—didn't wash it. I said, what am I going to do. He said, "That isn't my yarn!" Well I told him that I had no way of knowing if it was his yarn or not. Later, when we were at his mill, I recall being down in a basement and the water was coming out of the rinsing bin at the end of the rinsing bin before it went to the quilling. He took a cup of water up and he said, "Taste it! That water is clean." So he took a sip of it, and I figured if it didn't kill him it wouldn't kill me. So we found out—well I found out—Everett already knew—that mercerized yarn had to be rinsed and rinsed properly, otherwise it wouldn't stay white. So next I got on the neck of Ewing Thomas—I was only buying from Ewing Thomas and Sellers at that time then I started buying from Hampton.
BEN BULLA:
Why did you buy from other people?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Sellers couldn't make enough. We were using it faster than he could make it. We made sort of an agreement at that time; I would tell Everett how much I needed, and He'd tell me how much I could buy from him and how much to buy from somebody else, and who to buy it from. And as a result, it raised hell with the Durene association. After one of the Durene Association meetings Everett was in New York and he came over to Spring City and he said, "Your name came up at our meeting. Somebody wanted to have the Durene association boycott the Spring City Knitting Company and expell from the association any of the durene mercerizers that were not selling at the damn-fool price." They never fixed the price, but they would say that only a damn fool would sell for less than that, so

Page 19
Everett called it "The damn fool price." You know how down to earth Everett was; he was very earthy. So he told me who to buy from and who not to buy from. It got to the point that we were using yarn from Ewing Thomas, Sellers and—oh, Rankin, who was president of the Durene Association berated Everett Jordan, and he said, "Everett if you stop selling Spring City for less than the Durene price, I'll stop selling Spring City for less than what you call "the damn fool price." Everett told me all this. He said, "You better find somebody else." There's a fellow by the name of Ed Golden who is Ewing Thomas salesman who I did business with. So they fired Ed Golden for coming to me—they blamed him for coming to me and telling me what was going on in the Durene assiciation—but it was Everett that had told me; so I told Ed I would give him a job. Well he was a fish out of water, he didn't know anything about selling. So Everett says, "You better get somebody to take the place of Ewing Thomas." I said, "Who." He said, "Well there's a "SHORTY" W. H. McDonald over at Southern Mercerizing in Tryon, N. C. So I called Shorty McDonald on the phone and I told him I wanted some 50/2 mercerized. Everett told me not to tell anybody that I told you to call him. I told him I wouldn't. So McDonald asked me how we knew about Southern Mercerizing, that they didn't do any business in Pennsylvania. I said, well if you sell me you'll have your first customer in Pa. anyhow. So I sent Ed Golden who had been the yarn salesman for Ewing down to see Shorty McDonald and I wrote out an order for 500,000 pounds of 50/2 at "your very best price." He called me on the phone while Ed Golden was sitting there. He said, "I never had an order for 500,000 pounds of 50/2. Is this for real?" I said,

Page 20
"certainly." He asked what price to put on it. I told him to put the best price on it he could, if he charged me too much we would pay it, that it wouldn't break us, but on the other hand it would be the last order he would get. If your price is right, you'll get another order. So he put a price on it that was about 15¢ a pound less than the Durene Association price. I'm not sure of those figures, but they are approximately. It was maybe a nickel a pound less than Sellers price was. So he sent Ed Golden back with a contract that was 15¢ a pound less. I drew a line through it and raised the price 5¢ a pound and I called him on the phone and I said, "You underbid my other suppliers, but I'm going to pay you the same I pay them." I never made a move without talking to Everett. Everett said, "As long as you do that, you'll never get into any trouble, because if you paid them a nickel a pound less, he might go to somebody else, maybe to one of my customers down here"-at that time most of the mercerized yarn went into the hosiery business—it was practically all hosiery. So that became the standard. Everett actually set the price of mercerized yarn. The Durene assoc. had a price and they had another price which was the Spring City price, and that lasted for years.
BEN BULLA:
Did the Durene Association make any more complaints after that?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
It came up every year for quite a few years, but it finally got to the point that other memebers of the Durene Association would meet Everett's price and Shorty McDonald's price. I used to buy my thread from Standard; but Standard and Dixie were the two that would never sell for a cent less than the Durene price; so I never bought any Durene from either of them.

Page 21
One day Everett and I were talking and I said, "Everett, we have to have something better than Durene. We've got to come up with something new. We just can't keep sitting on the same thing because everybody else in the underwear business has started to make Durene underwear, and as soon as somebody else starts making it they cut the price. We got to have something better. So Everett blended Silk with cotton, he blended linen with cotton—that's all I can think of at the moment. But we made up underwear out of all these blends—we made samples. We always had something on the shelf. We didn't care what the price was, but we always had something to keep on Penney's and Sear's buyers desk all the time when they were looking for something new. Anytime we would hear of something, Everett would make it. Everett sait it was going to be awful high in price, but he thought he could blend cotton and polyester. So Everett made 60/40; 60% polyester 40% cotton. Well it was too high in price. We made the garments and they were perfect. Took them up to Penney's and they ran them through all their labs and they performed like a million dollars, but the price was real high. Everett came up one day and he had a whole bunch of roving that was wrapped up in brown paper and he asked me to take a look at it. I said, "What the hell is that?" It was so soft and shiny. He said it was pima cotton. That ought to ring a bell with you because you got to the point that you were running practically nothing but pima cotton for Spring City. You had all those mills down there running on pima cotton for quite a few years. So we started this pima cotton program. Oh I'm getting ahead of myself—Everett brought this pima cotton and I asked him how it would spin. He said it would make the most beautiful

Page 22
yarn. But you know they don't grow a whole lot of pima cotton. The price was about double the price of white cotton so I said lets make some up; let's make it up in 2 ply and in the single. We finally built the program; in order to make the merchandise come out right we used 60/2 pima in the shirts, 50/2 in the briefs and for the t-shirt, that was too heavy to use mercerized pima—the cost was to high, so he made 24's single—no 22/1. You ran 22/1 pima for us for years. That was the Pima Prince program. What that did—I'm working on another program—Penney's has asked me—and I'm working in sort of a half-assed way with Penney as consultant to develop something new. They claim there hasn't been a new garment made in the underwear business since I had been out of the business—in the last ten years. You see we went from carded to combed, to mercerized, to pima, then when they cut the price of polyester—oh I've got to interrupt myself here—we made this polyester and cotton, and DuPont would not let us use polyester on a knitting machine. They said that polyester would pill and polyester would only be used as a weaving yarn. So Everett dyed the polyester—he put on a dye that would not bleach out in our bleaching process; we took that and made up the underwear and took it down to DuPont. We had run all sorts of wear tests, abraision tests and everything else on it, and we found out it was the cotton that was pilling and not the polyester. We had a big meeting down at Chestnut Run in Wilmington [Delaware]. The old man sitting at the head of the table he was the father of polyester. We gave him the garments and he looked at them through a microscope. He said we could sell it but he wouldn't let anybody else sell it. But we couldn't sell it

Page 23
it was too high. The staple was $4.50 a pound, so that whole Pima Prince thing kept going for 5, 6, 8 years. Then DuPont cut the price of polyester from $4.50 to $1.00 per pound. So we pulled them off the shelf and Penney's started to buy them in a weeks time. So that's when you started to make polyester and cotton down there. You see—Everett developed it all for me, see. Anytime I needed something new I went to Everett and he made it. We made 50/50 cotton/polyester and started shipping and DuPont wanted to stop us from making 50/50 they had some kind of thing about 60/40—well by that time we had enough out in the market—not only at Penney's but at Sears and I think Montgomery Ward. So they decided they were going to sue DuPont for restraint of trade because it was selling so damn good.
BEN BULLA:
Who was going to sue DuPont?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Penney and Sears. Well DuPont backed off that deal fast, they agreed that 50/50 was o.k. So this evolution of the underwear business all stands with Everett Jordan. That's the reason I'm telling you all this in detail. Everett was not only innovative and creative, but he knew the spinning business. We'd go to other people to try to get them to make the same thing and they couldn't make it. When we got to the place that we used the yarn faster than Everett could make it then he would tell somebody else what to do. He would tell them how to make it.
One day I flew down and picked Everett up at the Raleigh-Durham airport and we flew down to Kannapolis and we had a meeting with Charlie Cannon and Don Holt. Charlie Cannon had sent some of this polyester over to Wiscassett and the damn yarn would fall apart. I don't know what they did but Everett told them what to do about it. Later I

Page 24
told Everett that the Wiscassett yarn had a breaking strength higher then his. What the hell is he doing that you're not doing. So I sent him down 16 cones of Wiscassett's yarn and he went down and talked to Charlie Cannon. Charlie told Everett that Cannon Mills had never told anybody anything, but he guessed that he owed Everett something. This might have been about the time that Everett went to the Senate. Then it wasn't long before other people—that's when Celanese got in the business and Eastman Kodak over at Kingsport, and everybody got into the polyester staple business. But Everett and Charlie Cannon were the ones that worked out the spinning.
BEN BULLA:
Did Charlie Cannon tell Everett how to get his breaking strength higher?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yeah. It had something to do with the roving. I knew at the time—I'm not sure.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
You see beyond all this Everett was not only a man of integrity; a man with a nice friendly smile; he was not only genial, but he was a very generous man. Everett would go out of his way to be helpful. This Everett did—I think he did this so often it became a part of his life; to go out of his way to be helpful. I know, in walking around through the plants, if he ran into somebody, whether they be black or white, and especially black—Everett, If he knew somebody was having trouble at home, or something like that he would go out of his way to see how he, or his company, could do something to be helpful. You know his wife, Katherine, was just like Everett in that respect. I

Page 25
know she worked hard for the church and for the people in the community of Saxapahaw and there abouts. She took an interest in the people that worked in the plant and if some of the mill hands had problems Katherine would look after a lot of those problems the same as what Everett did. If Everett went home and told Katherine about something she wouldn't forget it. She was a great partner; she helped to contribute to many of Everett's attributes. I believe I'm standing on high, dry ground when I say that because I knew Katherine quite well and I'd seen her take off, maybe looking after some of the sick families—maybe some of the mill families. I think that the two of them worked at it all of their life because you just don't do something like that overnite, or you don't do it on a hit or miss basis. You either do it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or else you become a phony, and there wasn't anything—any semblance of phoniness that you could attribute to either Katherine or Everett in their relationship with the people—the mill hands in their plants.
Does that answer your question?
BEN BULLA:
Yes.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Regarding Everett: His magnetism would attract the best out of almost anybody and everybody. If I said something nicely about Ben, it was because of the magnetism of his father that I said it. I said that Ben was probably the only honest yarn salesman that I ever knew; I probably said it because first of all, his father's personalty commanded respect and commanded honesty, and I would give him an honest answer. That's probably the reason I said it.
BEN BULLA:
Ed, I don't want to inject any sour notes, but so far we have

Page 26
discussed his strong points—any weak points at all? Any you have observed? Did you ever hear any of the competition criticize him?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
The only criticism that I can recall off the top of my head from any of his competition was that he was one hell of a tough competitor. The reason he was a tough competetor was because he knew the business. First of all he was dedicated to quality; he was dedicated to service. Beyond that he knew the business well enough that I would compare him to Charlie Cannon in knowing the cotton market. Now if you want to call that criticism on the part of his competitors then, yes, they criticized him for being a hell of a tough competitor. He was a tough competitor. Everett was not a "Patsy." He was not a patsy for anybody. You could push Everett just so far but no further.
BEN BULLA:
Did very many people ever push him?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
You see Everett was so smooth, and so clever that if people were trying to push him by the time they would get done trying to push him, it would appear that Everett was pushing them rather than them pushing him. I mean it.
I know I used to go to the meetings—now that reminds me of a situation: There was a cotton bill that come up before the Senate; they called it the 6¢ a pound cotton bill. Charlie Cannon and I sat side by side before the Senate committee. We both testified—Charlie Cannon, as one of the biggest producers of textiles, testified that the 6¢ a pound would be passed on to the consumer. I testified, as a manufacturer of underwear, that the 6¢ a pound would be funneled through us to the consumer. If we got 6¢ off the price of yarn, the price of the underwear that we sold our customers would be reduced by

Page 27
6¢ a pound. The bill was passed and the—Everett called me in Airozona one Friday night and he said the bill was going to be signed by the president—I'm not sure which president it was now—I believe it was either Kennedy or Johnson—it could have been even before that which would have been Eisenhour I guess. Anyway, he called me Friday night and said the bill passed and it was going to be signed on Saturday morning. I booked passage on a plane on Saturday and flew in to Kennedy Airport and had a press conference on Sunday morning. I announced to the industry that Spring City would reduce the price of all underwear by 6¢ a pound. A t-shirt weighed 4 pounds—the price was reduced 24¢; a pair of men's briefs weighed a pound and three-quarters, it would be reduced ten and one-half cents; something like that. Charlie Cannon, on Monday, announced that they were reducing the price of yarn by 3¢ a pound, and he started to talk about 3¢ a pound being the equivalent of the 6¢. The press asked me and I said 6¢ a pound in cotton [unknown] should be more than 6¢ a pound in yarn because it took more than a pound of cotton to make a pound of yarn.
BEN BULLA:
The waste comes out.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yes. Charlie Cannon was talking about the price of wages having gone up in the meantime since he had testified before congress; overhead and other things had increased; he was keeping faith that the three cents he was passing on was the equivalent of the 6¢ he had indicated to congress he was going to pass on. My quarrel with Charlie was that it didn't. Now we at Spring City, we refused to accept shipments from anybody that didn't pass on the 6¢ a pound. I figured that 20 or 25% waste on combed yarn would more than cover the increases

Page 28
that had occurred in the interim. We had some people that never did pass on the 6¢ so we finally cancelled the contract; but ironically, the contracts that passed, just sheer competition, and the fact that the price of cotton had gone down 6¢, within a matter of three or four months, sheer competition had forced the price of cotton down not 6¢, but nearer 7 or 8¢.
BEN BULLA:
Ed, the bill we are talking about—was that the so called two-priced cotton system?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yep.
BEN BULLA:
Remember we had a false price because of foreign competition—foreign markets. We were paying—the foreign markets had an advantage over domestic people here. Then the two-priced cotton system was supposed to correct this?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
That's what this was supposed to do. And Everett, behind the scenes, had as much to do with getting that bill through the Senate as anybody that I know of. There was a lot of other people that stood up and beat their chest and took credit for it, but Everett would just sit back and smile. He didn't want credit. Everett was an egotist—his egotism he kept within himself. He never wore his egotism on his lapel. He never tried to overpower or storm anybody into . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
agreeing with him or going along with him just because of the sheer weight of his influence. As a Senator—yes I can even say—people in North Carolina—he never pushed the people around, people that he could have pushed around if he had wished to in North Carolina because he was a United States Senator. Everett was a great "live and let

Page 29
live" man.
[Rest of side 2 is blank]
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE A]

[TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
. . . I get awful long winded, Ben, I'm sorry.
BEN BULLA:
That's o. k. Ed, keep on; this is great.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
But the polyester program had gone. I said we had to have something that would sell for a higher price. I had been reading something about DuPont's program on quiana which was to replace silk. In the meantime Everett had been experimenting with—well we started off with nylon, but that turned yellow; orlon, that was the wool counterpart—the nylon of course turned yellow. That wouldn't bleach, so Everett said he'd get some, so he got some staple and made the quiana for us. He made the quiana out of 80's so—I missed one in there—I used to get into trouble: Everett would make me, say the Pima Prince, I'd take it to Penney, then I didn't have anything to sell to Sears. I'd go back to Everett and tell him I had to have something to sell Sears. So he got into Egyptian cotton. He even labeled the stickers in the cones "Royal Egyptian." You see all things originated down at Sellers.
BEN BULLA:
Who drew up the names?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
I had an advertising agency over in Reading that we used. They came up with Pima Prince then we wanted something else and we labeled that "America's finest cotton made by America's finest craftsmen to produce America's finest underwear." That whole program was built around those three statements. Then with Sears we got the Eyyptian cotton. That program was built around "The world's finest cotton, to make the world's finest underwear" and that was Sears program.

Page 30
Then we made the quiana for Penney.
I used to call Everett on the phone and say, "Hey, I'm in trouble." He had a saying, "It's all right to get into trouble as long as you don't draw any blood," or something like that. He had some sort of saying, "just so long as you don't draw blood" or"you're going to have to go get a surgeon's license" or something like that, or"you go to jail". He had so many homey statements like that you know.
BEN BULLA:
Yes, I was hoping you would recall some of those—I need that. If you think of more be sure and give them to me.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
When we start reminiscing a lot of these things will come back. So then Inca came out with that 1 1/2 denier staple—real fine staple that was real soft—it was similar to quiana.
BEN BULLA:
What did you call the quiana when you sold it?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Quiana. [Here's a package of it.]
BEN BULLA:
So that's Quiana. 75% nylon 25% 2 ply pima cotton. Did Sellers make all of your Quiana?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yes. Then we needed one for Sears, so we took the Inca 1 1/2 denier and they called it "Golden Comfort." Sears is still selling it—the Golden Comfort line. Now that's then End of the Line in the development of underwear and there hasn't been anything developed since then.
BEN BULLA:
This Nylile—cotton and nylon—how did it work out?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Oh, that nylile—he twisted nylon with cotton, but in order to make a new generation of mercerized yarn—Everett always kept saying, "We've got to keep those mercerizing machines running." What he did with that was he put in more twist and mercerized it. Everett coined that name "Nylile."
BEN BULLA:
Did it have any stretch to it?

Page 31
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Not necessiarily; as a matter of fact I would guess it would have less stretch because it was a tighter twist. But it made a helluva nice garment. It gave the cloth a more sculptured look—it wasn't fuzzy. I know that originally he gassed it—I don't know whether he actually gassed it or we just talked about it, to get rid of the fuzzy look on it, but I'm not sure whether it was actually gassed. I know it was discussed.
We used to just sit around and talk like you and I are here. We would talk and talk. I didn't know what you could or could not do. I just kept asking questions.
BEN BULLA:
Was the nylile program; was that a Sears program?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
That was a Penney program. That's the reason I'm working with Penney's right now—there are still a couple of the original underwear buyers there now.
BEN BULLA:
How about Ross Dillon?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Oh, no, no, no. Ross Dillon died long before any of these—he died even before the mercerizing program started.
BEN BULLA:
Did you meet Ross Dillon at Pottstown?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
No, at the Penney's office in New York. That was when Penney's was down on 34th street. Then they built their own building—they're up there at 53rd street next to the Hilton Hotel. They have the Penney building up there. No there were numerous buyers came along—boom-boom-boom. Penney had a policy—anything you brought them in that was new that was yours. That was the reason Spring City grew as fast as it did was because of all these new programs that pushed us into Penney; and pushed us into Sears with a new program for them. You see we went

Page 32
from being the smallest underwear manufacturer in the country—men's underwear at least—to the largest.
BEN BULLA:
Ed did you sell To Cluet-Peabody in '74?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
I sold to them in '68—that's when I went down and paid Everett the money he loaned me at the time—well that's another story.
BEN BULLA:
When you sold in '68 what was your total sales volume then?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
About $75,000,000.
BEN BULLA:
How many plants did you have?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Well, we operated 19 plants. Five of those we just leased. All the time we were getting this extra business these manufacturers in and out of the state started going broke because they lost their business, so as they would go out of business we would go in and make a deal with them to take a hundred percent of their production and lease the plant. If the management was o.k. we'd keep them there and sometimes we paid them to stay the hell away.
BEN BULLA:
Were these knitters or cutters and sewers too?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Both.
BEN BULLA:
Did you have a spinning plant out in Arizona?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
No, that was cut and sew. We made all the cloth here in Pa., and shipped it to Arizona.
BEN BULLA:
You didn't have any spinning mills at all did you?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
No. No, you see here in Spring City we had three plants, there was two plants in Arizona, one in New Mexico, two in Georgia—let's see—two in Arizona, one in New Mexico and two in Georgia that would be six—then fifteen here in Pennsylvania.
Now we ought to back-tract a little bit because when we start

Page 33
talking about Arizona—that Arizona situation created a situation—that was about 1951 or 52. That's when you people down there loaned me money. Everett was on the board of directors at Wachovia Bank. I have told you before my father said, "There's the plant, you run it and it's yours." And that he had not been in the plant for about three years and he wouldn't come in.
[END OF TAPE 3, SIDE B]

[TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
[Laughter] This makes me think of something, I hope I don't forget it. I used to send our statements down to my father. He lived down in St. Petersburg from October until May and then from May until October he lived up in Canada. I moved into the old house
BEN BULLA:
In your fathers old house?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yes. My father, he had a stroke about 1950 and all of sudden he became interested in the underwear business. We used to have a board of directors meeting— the board of directors was my father, our attorney, myself and our accountant. I decided I was going to build a plant in Arizona— [text missing] I had been helping out in the shipping room when they got behind and I would see all these big orders going to California. So one morning it just occurred to me that there wasn't any boy's or men's underwear made west of the Mississippi river. So what happens to Spring City if somebody builds an underwear plant out west—we'd lose all that west coast business. So I got Ben Kohler, our controller over at Spring City—we found out that we were shipping about half of everything we shipped out to the west coast. After WWII all of Penney's big expansion was out on the west coast. They had 36 stores

Page 34
in L. A. and they were all big ones. I talked to my dad and we had a board of directors meeting that we ought to build a plant in Arizona. Well we agreed that I should go out and take a look anyhow. Well I sent George Dyer, our manager in our New York office. He and a Sears Roebuck land management—or the people that found the locations to build new stores. They went out and they started at El Paso, Texas and they went all the way up the west coast to Seattle, then they back tracked down and they called me from Phoenix, and they said the place to build was Phoenix, Arizona, because it's overnight to L. A., and you can ship east as well as you can west, and the transportation is good. California was highly unionized and they had an inventory tax—a floor tax. Arizona had a very low tax rate plus they had a Right-to-Work law and practically no unions in Arizona. We had never had a union any more than you people did. I think I ought to interject here that Everett contributed as much as I did to our not having a union. He used to say, "As long as you can keep them talking without fighting—" no, it was "As long as you're talking you won't be fighting." He made that statement onetime on the Senate floor. It was something about shipping—he was on the Agricultural Committee and he went up to Canada. At that time we were not shipping any grain to Russia. Everett was part of the Senate group that went to Canada and they made an agreement where Canada could ship grain to Russia. I heard him make a speech that we ought to ship grain to Russia. He used that statement on the Senate floor, "As long as we're talking we won't be shooting." I often think of it, especially right now with all the meetings coming up with the Russians. When you stop talking that's when somebody's

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liable to start shooting.
Getting back to Phoenix. I went out and I bought 25 acres of ground and started to build a plant and my father, having had that stroke, said that he had never agreed to build a factory in Arizona. He said that if we built that factory out there then the one we had here in Spring City would be standing idle. Fortunately we had made a deal when I agreed to go to Arizona with Penney and Sears. I told them both that my father was objecting like hell to my building this new plant out there and they became as excited as all hell about having a plant where they could have overnight delivery instead of 3 to 4 weeks, plus the fact that the freight rate was $11.50 a dozen from Philadelphia to L. A. From Phoenix, it was 90¢ a hundred. Round figures, 30 dozen underwear made a hundred pounds, so instead of the 35 or 40¢ a dozen freight; 3¢ a dozen freight. That was our profit—more than our profit. So we had another board of directors meeting and my father accused our attorney and our accountant—he fired them right off the board of directors just like that—he said that they took out the record of the minutes and retyped the record of the meeting where we had agreed to built the plant in Arizona. He told me he would either buy me out or I would buy him out, and that he would give me a year. I said, "How much do you want for it?" He said, "I want what it's worth, you know what it's worth more than I do. You tell me how much you're willing to pay me, I'll either take it or we'll liquidate." My father owned 83% of the stock at that time and I owned 17%, so there wasn't much question about whether it would be liquidated or be sold. He was calling the pitches. I went down

Page 36
to see Everett real fast. Everett and I sat down and we talked and we decided between us what I ought to offer my father. We arrived at a figure of $2,500,000; two and a half million dollars.
I had to borrow $2,200,000, so I went down to the bank in Philadelphia that we had done business with. We had never borrowed—oh maybe we would borrow a half million or a million for a month or something like that. They said they wouldn't loan me the money, said we were paying too damn much money, said the business wasn't worth two and one-half million dollars, said we were paying my father too much money. I said, "What do you mean too much money, what establishes a price is a willing buyer and a willing seller; that establishes the price of anything." I went back to Everett again. I said, "Everett, they won't loan me any money." He said we would go over to Winston-Salem and talk to Archie Davis. Archie Davis and Everett and I sat there and went over all the figures, and Archie Davis says, "Everett, if you think that's o.k. we'll go along with it." So Archie Davis came up to Philadelphia with Everett and we went down to the Philadelphia National Bank. Archie Davis was trying to tell Philadelphia National Bank that they should loan us the money, that Wachovia would participate with them; they would go 50/50 on the loan; they would back up Philadelphia National Bank. Well these staid old Philadelphia bankers—while they were sitting there talking, somehow we got around to talking about fox hunting. Oh, I used to go fox hunting over with the Radner Hunt over here, and this Bob Potts and Maurey Dorrence of Philadelphia National Bank belonged to the Radner Hunt and I used to fox hunt with them every Sunday morning. I'd take my horse down and we'd hunt every

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Sunday morning—we were talking about fox hunting—so Bob Potts said to Everett, "Did you ever go fox hunting?" Everett said, "Oh yes! I used to go fox hunting, we'd stand in the corner of the fence there and we'd go out with some dogs and we'd go along the creek and chase the fox out and I'd . . .
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE A]

[TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]
BEN BULLA:
Didn't he say something about a turnip field?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
He said, "You know when you're out hunting there's nothing like finding a turnip patch, pulling out a turnip, rubbing the dirt off on your pants, cut the top off and eat a turnip, it's better than a drink of water." So Pots said, "You mean you'd shoot foxes?" and Everett said, "Yeah, that's all a fox is good for is shooting." Well that's the worst thing you could ever say to those old stodgy Philadelphia lawyers who had been fox hunting all their lives with their fancy red coats and all that kind of stuff, and when Everett told them about being out there eating a turnip that brought down the house. I know walking down the street we kept talking about how Everett had pared them down to size. So Everett was a fox hunter. [Laughter] So the bankers said no, so Archie and Everett took the train back that night and Everett called me on the phone the next morning and said that Wachovia had agreed they would loan us the money. My year was up within a week's time, I only had four or five days, so I flew down to Winston-Salem and Everett came over and I think they loaned us two or three hundred thousand. I know that Royal loaned some, and Jordan and Sellers, each one of the plants

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loaned part of it.
BEN BULLA:
It was a transaction that was done very confidentially. Everett Jordan told me to tell nobody in our company.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Nobody in the industry ever knew that Everett had any money in Spring City KNitting Co.
BEN BULLA:
How much did Wachovia loan you?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
It was a little bit less than two million—I believe that Everett loaned us two hundred thousand—I think. Maybe three hundred.
BEN BULLA:
I believe it was three hundred. You had three hundred thousand cash of your own.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
So I guess we borrowed a million, nine. Philadelphia National Bank said I couldn't pay it off in ten years—Archie Davis set it up on a six year term loan with a baloon and if I handled it all right they would refinance in six years. I kpet telling him that we'd pay it off is less than six years. To make a long story short we paid it off in four years and three days. I was going to pay it off in four years, but I missed it by three days because Penney screwed me up on our cash flow at Spring City, because Penney, at that time of the year, used to owe us—Penney's would pay on the 10th, the 20th and the first of the month. Every ten days we'd get a check. We were supposed to have a check for two or three million dollars come in on the 20th of December, but he had miscalculated, so instead of paying him off on December 31st—the end of four years
BEN BULLA:
In our part, Ed, I remember I had some Spring City Stock I held in my safe. Was that security for your loan?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yes. I don't remember how much stock he actually had.

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BEN BULLA:
We had it in our safe—not in our name it was in your name—it was never transferred on the books.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
When I started talking to Cluett I went down to see Everett and I think I paid Everett 750 or 800 thousand for—it was three hundred thousand and the way it worked out we took interest on the money and-
BEN BULLA:
It was on a granduated scale each year.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yeah we added the interest to it and then built it up and that's the way it came out just like as if I never paid any interest on it. I used to remind Everett all the time because—you see I used to pay Everett 2, 3, 4, 5¢ a pound more—or as much more as I could afford to pay him than anybody else. in lieu of interest on the loan. Everett knew all of that because I used to show him what I was buying and who from and what I was paying and everything else.
I believe I went down to Washington and took a check along to Everett around 67 or '68—does that sound right to you? It would be toward the end of '67 I'm pretty sure.
BEN BULLA:
I can verify it.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
I know he called you and you mailed me back the stock, and I was in a position to deal with Cluett-Peabody. Those negotiations went on for a year or two I guess—
I know when I went in to see Everett I had a worksheet where I had it all worked out how much it was this year and then the interest for this year, and next year, and the next and next and it added up to this and I rounded out the figure and I had a check for it and I said, "Everett, now if this isn't agreeable to you let me know." He looked at it, he took the check and he said, "That's fine." That's

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how quickly—there wasn't any conversation—it was handled just that quickly. That's the kind of guy Everett was. He could have put a gun in my back and said, "I need another half-million" or something like that you know, or more—God only knows—but not Everett.
BEN BULLA:
Did you have a formal agreement of any kind?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
No.
BEN BULLA:
Verbal?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Yep. I think I had a note with Royal and one with Jordan and one with Sellers. I think I had signed three notes.
BEN BULLA:
I believe that it stipulated that after a certain period of time that you would pay so much per year to get the stock back—the amount of the loan plus a rate of interest over a period of years.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
I don't recall, anyhow what Everett was—I believe you're right because we did that and the numbers that I came up with were more than was on those statements. I know it was more. If Everett wasn't satisfied he never said so. He just said, "That's fine." He took the check and that was it.
BEN BULLA:
That sounds exactly like him.
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Oh yeah, that was Everett. Listen are you ready for a little lunch?
One thing that kept popping into my mind was the word "friend" I knew that you and I were going to talk about the fact that Everett and I were friends. Well that word friend is used very, very loosely. I have said for many years that any person that has a friend the way that I would interpret the work friend—if he in his lifetime has

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as many friends as he could count on the fingers of one hand, he would be a very unusual person because I doubt there are many people that has as many friends as he could count on his five fingers, but Everett Jordan was the kind of guy I could count on my hand. I don't think I can think of but two—Everett and one other person. Now I got in trouble in front of a lot of guests at my house one night when this thing came up—I just blared out in front of everybody, "I don't have a friend in this room." I was talking to a friend of mine who was a lawyer. I said, "You're using that word friend too loosely, because—all these people here, they are not friends of mine, they're acquaintances." I said, "You're not a friend of mine, you're an acquaintance." Now this all ran through my mind last night thinking about Everett. Everett would fullfill the definition of being a friend.—now everybody in the room—25 or 30 people all got up in arms when I said I didn't have a friend in the room. So I started telling them what I thought who was a friend. One of the first things I said was, "If I go broke this afternoon there isn't a person here that would put a mortgage on his house to bail me out." Somebody said, "You're putting a dollar sign on friendship." I said I wasn't putting a dollar sign, it just happens that we live in a capitalistic society and the dollar is a measure of values. You attach the value of things to a dollar—
[END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B]

[TAPE 5, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
The only person that I ever knew that was always right—no wait—
BEN BULLA:
You're never wrong—
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
You're never wrong, but you're not always right. That was one

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of Everett's favorite statements.
BEN BULLA:
Just what kind of a man—what was his personality?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
We discussed this at lunch time. I told you that he was a friend and I referred to the fact that a person was fortunate to have five friends. Everett Jordan was a friend that you could count.
BEN BULLA:
Do you think he was always in command of the situation?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Oh yes. Everett had a personality all of his own. I mentioned about his being in command—I think I said to you that he had a a personality that was like a magnet. Everett had the kind of personality that attracted substance. Everett was always in complete command of himself and of the situation. To go one step further, he was usually in complete command of the people with whom he associated and surrounded himself. He was in command because of his personality, his integrity, his friendship for people. His complete understanding. He had the unusual knack of understanding the other man's problems. This is one of the greatest attributes you can say about anyone, because anyone that understands the other man's problems is first of all an unusual person. That person attracts confidence, trust—he had the kind of personality that he was dedicated to the real fine principles of life. I don't know Everett as a—I had no way to know personally to have known Everett as a very religious person, but if I were asked I would have to say that I believe that Everett must have been a very religious person, because of his dedication to the finest—to his family, to his employees, to his company, to any project in which he was interested—adds up to that he had to be a very religiously disciplined gentleman. I'm using the word gentleman

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advisedly because Everett was at all times and always a gentleman. He had the respect of all those people that I mentioned, and in turn, and which is probably more important which made him Everett Jordan, he respected them, each and every one of them. I'm saying this now—I know in walking into the store there in Saxapahaw, and walking around through the plants, whether it be a maintenance man or some lady or some man that worked in the store, whether it be somebody down in the boiler room or a supervisor or just an operator of a quilling machine or throughout the whole plant—he never walked past anybody without a greeting and in turn he was greeted in the most friendly way. I mention this because as proof in my thinking he had the respect of the people that not only worked for him, but he respected them because I never saw him walk past anybody without passing with them the best of the day.
BEN BULLA:
After he became a Senator he was textile oriented directly in the southern states, he worked throughout his whole career in textiles—do you know of anything he did for the textile industry as a Senator?
EDWARD L. GRUBER:
Off the top of my head—at the spur of the moment it would be difficult for me to say—to put my finger on any one thing that we could attribute to Everett Jordan, but understand what I'm saying—you're going to have to bare in mind all the things I've been saying to you about Everett. You see Everett had the kind of personality—a magnetic personality that attracted people to him. He had the ability to ride on the subway car from the Senate Office Building over to the Capital for a vote or to walk up the aisle and talk to someone about a vote on a bill. You know people talk about Lyndon Johnson being a great leader of the Senate—Lyndon Johnson being a

Page 44
great compromiser. Everett Jordan, while he wasn't flamboyant like Lyndon Johnson, Everett wasn't a big wheel and dealer that Lyndon Johnson was, but Everett Jordan had the ability to reach people in his own quiet way—that Lyndon Johnson had. Everett knew when to ask, and when not to ask. As a result thereof he was never "crying wolf" for a lost cause. If Everett really wanted something he had so previously positioned himself with his colleagues in the Senate that it made it very difficult for them to say no to Everett. I can think of quite a few situations where Everett did favors for people far beyond the call of duty. Everett built up a great big bank account of obligations with his colleagues because of his kindliness, his understanding of the other man's problems—never asking another man to vote against something that he knew was going to embarass the other man to vote either for or against a bill. His colleagues knew that if Everett asked them for their vote he had every reason in the world to ask them for it, and he usually got what he asked for because you know Everett was so astute that he knew the answer to the question before he asked it. If he knew that he was going to get a no, he wouldn't ask. If he knew that there was a possibility, or that he would get a yes, then he would ask. I have heard him say numerous times, talking to some of his colleagues in his office over in the Capital, "If you can do this for me without hurting yourself back home I'd like for you to do it, but if you can't, don't do it." I've heard him say many times, "we've got enough votes to pass the bill, so why should I ask you to embarass yourself, what difference does it make if we win by two or three votes or by ten or fifteen votes if it means you're embarassing yourself. I don't want you to

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embarass yourself." That's where Everett—his understanding of the other man's problems really . . .
END OF INTERVIEW