R.H. Lindsay Company started as a strictly grease wool house buying all the wool for a Massachusetts wool combing mill. Our second President, John D. (Toppy) Lindsay kept R.H. Lindsay going for many years thanks to his superior skill at visually assessing raw wool and assigning the right yield and spinning count. During the 1980s and 1990s Toppy and Phil teamed up to add a full line of International wool and fiber supply to the entire wool industry. That run came to an end in the late 1990s as a combination of changes in the wool and textile world saw the U.S. wool textile industry go from a long 15+ year period of stubborn growth, to a loss of 75% of our capacity in five short years. Never the less we persisted.
Today’s R.H. Lindsay is quite different with a range of products we offer daily that have been at least semi-processed into scoured, carded or top form. Selling to artisans and craft people was started as a cute sideline in the early 1980 when Phil first started full time at R.H. Lindsay and today it is our bread and butter. Thanks to the internet and a family network of support that never gave up, R.H. Lindsay is in a great spot and we’re pretty excited about our prospects now and into the future. Thanks to you.
Late last year we expanded our nascent Boston-area wool warehouse by three times. With an empty warehouse, we brought in all the wool we had lying around various east coast locations to help pay the rent. As a result we started offering scoured wool which has been a great success. We also got a better look at our entire inventory and found a few nuggets.
The latest result of this is our Brand New! #27D Domestic Brown/Black Local Brown/Black Carded Sliver. It will be priced at $8.00/lb and a 12 pound bag will net free delivery for $96.00. The specs are, 29.5 micron, 3 inch average staple length. We found a few bales of some special black fleece we’d sorted out a while back but mysteriously left at the processing plant sitting for a while. Once we saw it, we knew what we had to do and here it is.
The wool is from a combination predominantly of Colored Corriedale Cross along with some other Medium wool dual purpose breed sheep. We’re sorry, but our technical training forbids us from calling anything with color in it a pure breed as any breed book would only recognize white wool for a true Corriedale or any other breed. We always crack a smile when folks so breed identify as for all but the most unique breed of sheep, few can identify what breed anything is once it has been carded and combed. Once it is spun into yarn, knit, woven or felted it gets even harder still except for a few rare exceptions.
Being breed specific is a great branding move by individual wool growers and artisans who want to separate themselves from carrying, just plain wool. While we’ll give a nod to a breed, our business is based upon being able to bring industrially handled product to smaller users at a price they can afford. Looking at our sales figures it would appear many of you recognize and appreciate this since our #1 item is our #91 Domestic 56s (fifty sixes) Fleece Wool Top (29.5 micron). The breed identity we’ve used jokingly over the years is Heinz 57 American, as basically any sheep that grows mostly white wool in the 28-30 micron area is put into these blends. It is also one of our most competitively priced products.
So to make it even more competitive we’re dropping the price of our #91 to $7.00/lb. We were hoping for a bit more off, but sadly shipping and handling costs have edged up enough to eat into much of the decline in raw wool prices. We’ll keep riding it though.
Speaking of wool markets, be warned that the price of fine wool (22 micron and less) has skyrocketed to near record high levels while medium (25-30 micron) and coarse (30+ micron) have plummeted or are virtually unsought in the market. We’re holding our price for now on the 21.5 Australian Merino and we’re looking to add a 19.5 domestic combed top in the fall at a competitive level too. It will be another year or so before you see it move into the price of yarn or fabric, but know many mills and manufacturers today are mulling what to do at today’s skewed levels.
So as we take pause to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we would like to thank you all for your continuing and steady support of R.H. Lindsay Company. We hope to be here for many more years and we hope you will be there using our wool too.