Fabric foundations 1910s

Birth of an association

At the beginning of the 20th century, the U.S. canvas industry was beset by difficulties, primarily because of the competitive climate. Companies operating at the custom level were facing what they considered unfair practices from fly-by-night firms.

Fourteen manufacturers of canvas and awnings from across the United States met at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver because they thought they needed an association and standards to achieve some kind of harmony. The result was the National Tent and Awning Association, which they hoped would bring peace and prosperity to the industry and lead to more business success.


The RMS Titanic, the largest passenger ship of the time, struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage. Casualties numbered 1,517.

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Gideon Sundbäck designed the first modern zipper while working for the Universal Fastener Company in Hoboken, N.J. Patented in 1917 as the “separable fastener,” it was named the “zipper” in 1923 by B.F. Goodrich.

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Tanks in World War I were developed by both Great Britain and France. A British tank was first used in battle on Sept. 15, 1916, at Fler-Courcelette, as part of the Somme offensive.

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The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol was ratified Jan. 16, 1919. It is the only amendment to have been repealed (in 1933, by the 21st Amendment).

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