HISTORY OF LEIGH FIBERS
Today’s Leigh Fibers was established in 1922 but its storied past goes back to 1866 when cotton waste merchant, John Leigh Sr. of Manchester England purchased a cotton spinning operation and ran under the name, John Leigh LTD. He and his sons, George and John Jr. Leigh, grew their cotton waste and reprocessing business and by 1918 John Leigh LTD has established an office in Boston, MA. They hired, Hans Lehner of Germany to run the Boston office.
After World War I, the influenza epidemic of 1918 and the devastation that cotton farmers faced due to the boll weevil, the future for the textile industry seemed bleak. Hans Lehner worked diligently to combat these many challenges that the textile industry faced and was committed to the success of the company. When John Jr. decided to sell the company, Hans Lehner purchased what is Leigh Fibers today and immediately began to stabilize its future.
In 1945, Lehner’s eldest son, Phillip, joined the business after serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII. In 1961, with the U.S. textile industry moving south, Leigh relocated production from its two New England plants to a state-of-the-art reprocessing plant near Spartanburg, South Carolina.
In 1965, Phillip assumed leadership of what has grown to be one of the largest textile reprocessing companies in North America. Today, Leigh Fibers Inc. is the largest textile waste and by-product re-processor in North America.
Positioned for the Future
The last fifty years have been full of innovation and expansion at Leigh Fibers. New fiber applications, the rise in synthetic and specialty fibers and more effective production techniques have created a wide range of new opportunities, in North America and around the world.
Leigh Fibers currently has import and export agreements with companies in 25 countries and nearly every continent. We’ve diversified from John Leigh’s early focus on cotton waste to include specialty fibers and shoddy, uniform destruction, and more.
The increasingly popular usage of recycled materials to reduce production costs has placed Leigh Fibers in the spotlight. We’re ready and positioned to help our customers benefit from using recycled fibers just as Leigh Fibers and our predecessor companies have for nearly 150 years.