Milliken History


Curious minds create inspired solutions

From humble beginnings in 1865 as a general store to a global manufacturing leader today, we’ve never stopped evolving and innovating. We imagine a better world for our children, our communities, and our customers. And then we roll up our sleeves, work hard, and find ways to make things that may have once seemed impossible become possible. Curiosity sparked this company and continues to be the force that drives our quest for positive change.



Milliken pivots in 2018 as it welcomes Halsey M. Cook, Jr. as President and CEO, marking a new period of transformation as the team rallies around its purpose: Together we strive to positively impact the world around us for generations to come.

Folkwood Installation
  • 2021
    Ethisphere recognizes Milliken as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the 15th consecutive year
  • 2021
    Partners with The Recycling Partnership and The Walmart Foundation to create the Center for Behavioral change, funded in part by the Milliken & Company Charitable Foundation
  • 2021
    Acquires Encapsys, a leader in micro-encapsulation technology
  • 2021
    Launches M/Pact, making all Milliken flooring products around the globe carbon neutral
  • 2021
    R&D 100 recognizes Milliken with its 8th award for one of the top 100 global innovations
  • 2020
    Founds the Milliken & Company Charitable Foundation
  • 2020
    Acquires Borchers, a global specialty chemicals company
  • 2020
    Joins The Recycling Partnership, a polypropylene recycling coalition to help ensure a circular future
  • 2019
    Creates the Healthcare operating division, following the acquisition of Andover Healthcare
  • 2019
    Acquires Polartec, a leading outdoor textile brand
  • 2019
    Signs the UN Global Pact, commiting to achieve 2025 sustainability goals and publishing 1st corporate sustainability report
  • 2018
    Names Halsey M. Cook, Jr. as President and CEO, the first non-associate and non-family member to serve in this role



Milliken’s passion to continuously raise the bar through innovative thinking is evident during this period with a strong focus on operational excellence and customer-centricity. The proof is in the results as the company becomes a recognized global manufacturing leader and a trusted partner.

Longstraw Installation
  • 2017
    Inducted into the America’s Safest Companies Hall of Fame Milliken—a validation of longstanding commitment to safety
  • 2014
    Acquires Westex, strengthening capabilities to deliver the most innovative fabrics to the FR industry
  • 2007
    Launches new manufacturing consultancy business, Performance Solutions by Milliken
  • 2007
    Ethisphere recognizes Milliken as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the first time
  • 1989
    Wins the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Award followed by the European Quality Award—two distinguishing recognitions of investment in operational excellence
  • 1988
    Invests in the future of its chemical business with new manufacturing facility in Blacksburg, South Carolina
  • 1982
    Showcases customer focus with opening of a new Customer Center at Spartanburg, South Carolina headquarters
  • 1981
    Launches Pursuit of Excellence (POE) program, a transformational shift focusing on customer satisfaction at all levels and locations throughout the company



Under the leadership of Roger Milliken, the company begins a long period of prosperity as Milliken’s team of curious minds envisions future success through research and technology innovation.

Longstraw Installation
  • 1973
    Engineers Millitron®, the first, large-scale digital printer for carpet revolutionizing the industry
  • 1971
    Deering Milliken becomes Milliken & Company
  • 1968
    Acquires Calloway Mills, entering the carpet business
  • 1965
    Expands into Europe with the acquisition of operations and offices in England, France, and Belgium
  • 1963
    Acquires chemical operations, adding important future capability to product offerings
  • 1958
    Moves headquarters to Spartanburg, South Carolina to a state-of-the art facility that includes a dedicated research center
  • 1947
    Names Roger Milliken as President , succeeding his father and shifting the company from a selling agent to a manufacturer; beginning more than 60 years of leadership under Roger Milliken



By the early 20th century, Milliken moved from an investor in textile mills to a manufacturer, bringing breakthrough innovations to the industry, pioneering synthetic fibers and revolutionizing textile production by rethinking the supply chain and manufacturing processes.

Longstraw Installation
  • 1945
    Invests in innovation, founding the Milliken Research Corporation where one of the company’s most successful first innovations, Agilon, is created and redefines the future of women’s hosiery
  • 1944
    Builds the first textile mill with air cleaning and cooling to manufacture tire cord from nylon setting a new standard for manufacturing facility design
  • 1939-1945
    Creates demand during World War II for more durable textiles and leads the industry in the development of synthetics for the military
  • 1927
    Obtains first patent for adding wheels and reinforcements to a commercial laundry basket that enables greater operational efficiency, marking a watershed moment as the first of thousands of patents Milliken holds today



It all began as a small endeavor, sparked by a desire to deliver solutions that serve customers with excellence and help communities prosper.

Folkwood Installation
  • 1920
    Names Gerrish Milliken, Sr. as President, succeeding his father, and ushering in the second generation of family leadership of the company
  • 1901
    Develops first recycling policy, establishing the company’s commitment to sustainability-focused manufacturing
  • 1864
    Moves headquarters to its first location in New York City
  • 1884
    Invests in a new textile manufacturing facility in Pacolet, South Carolina as well as more than 42 mills, helping develop the booming textile industry in the South
  • 1865
    Seth M. Milliken, operator of a general store in Minot, Maine, partners with William Deering to open Deering Milliken—a woolen fabric distributor and sales agent for textile mills in Portland, Maine