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Chas W House & Sons Closed Billiard Cloth Factory in Unionville, CT

Charles W. House & Sons billiard cloth factory closed its doors in Unionville, CT in September, 2009. The major shift by customers to buying imported billiard cloth has been cited and the reason for the company's demise.

Chas W House & Sons Closed Billiard Cloth Factory in Unionville, CT

Chas W House & Sons Closed Billiard Cloth Factory in Unionville, CT

The Charles W. House & Sons billiard cloth factory of Unionville, CT, a well-known local employer that survived the Great Depression and a devastating flood, is closing after operating for nearly 100 years.

The mill, which began operating in 1908 and rose to become one of the world's leading producers of woven felt, succumbed to foreign competition, mostly from Mexico and China, according to Chas. W. House & Sons Sales Manager David Henri.

"The [billiard cloth manufacturing] industry is basically gone [in the United States]'' Mr. Henri said on Thursday for an interview in the Friday, January 24, 2004 edition of the Hartford Courant newspaper.

Billiard cloth production ended in September, 2003 and the mill is holding a tag sale to unload tools, equipment, office furniture, adding machines and other odds and ends left behind after the company closed it's doors.

The mill property includes the three-story brick building and land along the Farmington River next to Union School.

The Chas. W. House & Sons company was founded in New Jersey in 1867. It moved to Connecticut in the 1880s and moved into the Unionville, CT mill in 1908, Mr. Henri said.

Henri's job, until last fall, was buying wool from sheep farmers. The Unionville, CT mill then turned the wool into woven cloth and felt used on billiard tables and in pianos. The mill also produced woolen blankets and rugs.

In its heyday, the Chas W House billiard cloth mill employed about 140 people, and the company had annual sales of about $6 million. When it closed just recently, about 20 workers remained.

The Chas. W. House & Sons Unionville, CT mill and business survived a 1955 flood that caused $350 million in damage, killing 77 people statewide and 13 in Unionville.

In the past few years, wool mills, like the rest of the U.S. textile industry, have been out priced by foreign competition. In 2003, half of the eight major wool mills still remaining in the United States had closed Henri said, adding, "and this is one of them."

The United States Department of Labor conducted an investigation into the closing of the company to determine eligibility to apply for worker adjustment assistance. Their investigations concluded that importing of billiard cloth resulted in the loss of sales at Chas. W. House & Sons.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Employment and Training Administration



Certification Regarding Eligibility To Apply for Worker Adjustment Assistance

In accordance with Section 223 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 USC 2273), the Department of Labor herein presents the results of its investigation regarding certification of eligibility to apply for worker adjustment assistance.

In order to make an affirmative determination and issue a certification of eligibility to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance, the group eligibility requirements in either paragraph (a)(2)(A) or (a)(2)(B) of Section 222 of the Trade Act must be met. It is determined in this case that the requirements of (a)(2)(A) of Section 222 have been met.

The investigation was initiated on September 25, 2003, in response to a petition filed by on behalf of workers of Chas W. House and Sons, Unionville, Connecticut. The workers at the subject firm produce woven felt.

The investigation revealed that sales, production, and employment at the subject facility decreased absolutely during the period of January through August of 2003 when compared to the same period in 2002.

The investigation further revealed that the subject firm did not import woven felt or shift production of woven felt to a foreign country during the relevant period.

The Department of Labor surveyed the subject facility’s major declining customers regarding their purchases of woven felt. This survey revealed increases in imports of woven felt during the period under investigation.


After careful review of the facts obtained in the investigation, I determine that increases of imports of articles like or directly competitive with woven felt produced at Chas W. House and Sons, Unionville, Connecticut contributed importantly to the total or partial separation of workers and to the decline in sales or production at that firm or subdivision. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, I make the following certification:

"All workers of Chas W. House and Sons, Unionville, Connecticut who became totally or partially separated from employment on or after September 16, 2002, through two years from the date of certification are eligible to apply for adjustment assistance under Section 223 of the Trade Act of 1974."

Linda G. Poole
Signed in Washington, D. C. this 3rd day of November, 2003.

Certifying Officer,
Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance


Businesses mentioned in this article:

  • Title: Chas W House & Sons Closed Billiard Cloth Factory in Unionville, CT
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 1/29/2004 10:01:56 AM

Chas W House & Sons Closed Billiard Cloth Factory in Unionville, CT Comments

  1. Lee SandfordLee Sandford from Port st Lucie, FL on 2/7/2019 4:37:13 PM

    I worked at House and Sons in the latter part of the 1970's for about 8 years. I worked with Bob Smith and the Trapaniers. I went there last year and found that the plant was torn down. What a shame for an historic mill. Why?

  2. James in CTJames in CT from Farmington, CT on 4/4/2019 8:07:12 AM

    When did Charles House factory close down?

    When did the factory get torn down?

  3. billiardsforumbilliardsforum from Halifax, NS on 4/4/2019 2:24:22 PM

    From an article in 2016:

    The property was a felt factory before closing in the 1980s. In 2007, the town approved a plan to build 97 apartments on the property and demolished the factory building, but the project never moved forward because of financial constraints, town officials have said.

    Source: courant.com/community/farmington/hc-farmington-charles-house-construction-delays-20160225-story.html

    Other stories said it may have briefly re-opened after 1980 but I am not 100% sure.

  4. James in CTJames in CT from Farmington, CT on 4/4/2019 7:08:54 PM

    Here is a sky view of the Charles W House and sons factory:


    I would also like to know what the inside of Charles W House and sons looked like.

  5. billiardsforumbilliardsforum from Halifax, NS on 4/11/2019 10:58:36 AM

    Here is a photo of the 2nd Floor stripping department.

    Inside the Chas W. House pool table cloth factory, 2nd floor. Unionville, CT

    The caption on the original image read as follows:

    Second Floor Stripping Department - c. 1908-1913. A building on Canal Street, later called Peery Street, was constructed in 1832 for James Cowles's Patent Woad Screw Manufacturing Company. The mill became home to the Chas. W. House & Sons Company c. 1907. Men on the second floor worked in the stripping department when this photograph was taken. Large rolls of felt were stacked against the walls. Electrical belts from the ceiling to the stripping machines were run by electricity which had replaced waterpower. (Chas. W. House & Sons, Inc.)

  6. James in CTJames in CT from Farmington, CT on 4/17/2019 6:41:00 AM

    I have seen that picture before but I would like to see more pictures on what it looks like more because I wanna see the entire inside

    All that's left now of the Charles W House and Sons factory is just a power house left.

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