Don’t Trust Anybody With Your Pantyhose!

My dad’s side of the family has lived in the NC piedmont region, namely near or around High Point, for about a century. Before that they settled in the NC mountains and before that they were originally from England. My father’s mom’s dad was an industrious, mechanical guy who grew up poor and only completed up until the 8th grade in school. After that point he had to help support the family by earning an income of his own. He started working in the textile industry, which has a strong history in the piedmont area mill community. By working hard, long hours at the mill he was able to scrape by a living for his family. He made a friend in the hosiery factory where he worked who was equally good with machinery and just as creative as he was. Together, they talked about ways to make improvements on the product their company made. Late one night, they sketched out a plan for a new piece of equipment that had never been invented before. It created hose that lacked the back seam that every pair had back then. They knew they had stumbled upon something big. Since it was practically in the middle of the night, they swore each other to secrecy and decided to go to the patent office at a later date with their invention. The very next morning, my great grandfather’s friend ran all the way to the patent office without him and turned it in with only one name on it. Since they hadn’t signed any type of agreement, my great grandfather was totally at a loss for what to do. He couldn’t recoup any money, or even prove that they had invented back-seamless hose together. His friend went on to become a huge millionaire and now my family always tells the story of how we almost made it big in the hose business but then lost our chance at the last minute.

Blair Mikels

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