Our History

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The Chicago Embroidery Company was founded in 1890 by a Swiss immigrant who came to America in 1877 and brought the art of Swiss embroidery to Chicago. Due to its prominence as a transportation hub, and with the meat packing industry providing raw materials for leather and felt, Chicago became a regional center for the garment industry.

 

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In the early days, the company used Swiss looms, also known as Schiffli embroidery machines, to manufacture Swiss lace, which was popular for ladies clothing, linens, and many other applications.The company prospered, but Swiss-style lace fell out of fashion in the 1930s.  During this period, The Chicago Embroidery company was asked to stitch designs on men’s socks, however no one knew how do to this because the sock had to be stitched after it was made and the power looms could not make a design without stitching the sock closed. The company met this challenge by creating a special holder for the socks that allowed the power looms to stitch a design without ruining the sock and in 1938, The Chicago Embroidery Company was granted a U.S. patent for a specialized hose embroidery machine.

 

 

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By the 1940s, fashions had changed and lace was less popular than it once was. World War II had begun and the government requested Chicago Embroidery to begin making patches s for the military. We learned how to convert our looms from manufacturing of Swiss lace to making embroidered emblems and began making many different emblems (also called "patches") for the military. Following the war, we began making emblems for the National Boy Scouts of America and have continued making emblems ever since.   We estimate that more than  400,000,000 patches have been created in our factories.

 

 

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Over the decades, descendants of the founder refined an improved the manufacturing process to provide the highest quality emblems available.
This early relationship with the national Boy Scouts continued for many decades and led to making embroidered emblems for just about every large, and many small, organizations.

 

 

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In 2014, the Illinois State Historical Society recognized and honored The Chicago Embroidery Company as an Illinois Centennial Business and awarded the company this designation as an organization that has been in continuous operation in the state for more than 100 years.

Today, over 125 years later, The Chicago Embroidery Company continues to produce high quality emblems for customers large and small, throughout the world.