Former Masland Auto Carpet Plant Closes

Carlisle, PA, Oct. 13, 2008--Central Pennsylvania has lost a piece of history with the closing of the International Automotive Components plant.

In its heyday under the Masland family, the plant employed well over 1,000 workers and was a leading manufacturer of carpeting and other materials for the automobile industry.

Its roots can be traced to Philadelphia, where in 1866 C.H. Masland opened a yard dye house to take advantage of the city's emerging textile industry. Although successful, the Masland family moved the headquarters to Carlisle in 1919 and it was there three years later that descendant Frank Masland and newly named C.H. Masland & Sons landed a contract that launched it into a higher orbit.

Masland began making automobile carpeting for Ford, and the rest, as they say, is history. General Motors and other auto manufacturers followed, and Masland moved into other auto products.

By 1986, the company had nearly $7 million in earnings per year based on annual sales of $200 million, and its board accepted a lucrative offer to be acquired by Burlington Industries.

Masland family members and managers bought it back in 1993 before selling it to the Lear Corp. in 1996.

But the plant started to mirror the decline of the U.S. auto industry and by the time International Automotive Components North America acquired majority ownership of the plant last year, its workforce was down to 150 people. With U.S. automakers in even more serious trouble, and the worldwide auto industry depressed, IAC has pulled the plug.

Related Topics:Masland Carpets & Rugs, The Dixie Group