The history of Pendleton Woollen Mills is woven into the history of modern America. It is a story that began over 150 years ago, with the entrepreneurial spirit of British weaver Thomas Kay. Arriving in Oregon in 1863, Kay gradually forged a successful family business, culminating in 1909 with the reopening of the Pendleton Woollen Mill. The mill had been known for its Native American trade blankets, made for the local tribes of the Columbia River. The company introduced new designs, colours and patterns, while expanding their market to the Southwest tribes. Designer Joe Rawnsley visited the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes to learn their customs and colour preferences, so Pendleton blankets would appeal to this new market. Initially, they emulated the multicolour striped patterns of the famous point blankets produced by the Hudson’s Bay Company. However, Pendleton subsequently pioneered stunning Native American-inspired designs, which became coveted and much-prized heirloom pieces.
Today, Pendleton continues to set the standard for American style. With six generations of family ownership, its textiles are infused with authenticity, heritage and craftsmanship – all still proudly designed and woven in the USA.