Rosedale Knitting Mill was once Berks County’s third largest knitting mill, behind Berkshire and Textile. It was opened in 1914 as a manufacturer of men and women’s stockings by a man named William C. Bitting. By 1921, Rosedale employed nearly 3,000 people who settled close to the site of operations within areas that eventually became Laureldale Borough. – source
Laureldale Borough was officially incorporated as a municipality in 1930. The first choice of name was actually “Rosedale”, but the name was already used by an existing community in Chester County.
In 1952, the Rosedale Knitting Mill shut down for good during a Hosiery Workers Union strike. Western Electric leased part of Rosedale Knitting Mill complex after it closed in 1952. They used the space to retrain unemployed hosiery workers. They opened a new plant in 1959 North of Reading, and eventually became the county’s leading employer. Western Electric was a leading manufacturer of electronic and communication components. The ownership and operations of Western Electric eventually changes in succession to Bell Labs (1962), AT&T (1984), Lucent Technologies (1996) and finally Agere (2000), which then closed the Reading location in 2003.
Every city and town had manufacturing that employed hundreds if not thousands. Every city has its sad story of plants being shut down and owners or CEO’s just shutting them down for the sake of cheap labor over seas. Far too often the quality that went into their products slipped in a major way and some of those companies went under because of horrible decisions that money over their neighbors was far more important. Now we are left with no choice but overseas products that end up in the city dumps faster then American made. We are seeking quality and we aren’t afraid to pay for it because we know its far outlasts the garbage coming in on ships.