Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack. The clattering of antique looms intimidated David Kaufman when he first bought Brahms Mount from its founders, Claudia Brahms and Noel Mount, in April 2009. Not anymore.
“I fell in love with the fabric and fell in love with the tangible aspect,” he says. “It was very different than anything I had done in the past.”
Kaufman, a New York native who retired from a long career in broadcast management in 2005, was looking for a new project when he came across the chance to purchase the iconic blanket manufacturer—one of the few textile mills still operating in the country. In the four-plus years that Kaufman has been at the helm, he’s increased the staff from six to 34; upped the production and distribution (pieces are now available in some 200 stores here and abroad); and expanded the line to include different fabric blends and color choices, as well as new items. Last November, he also opened a flagship store and design offices in Freeport, Maine, where he lives, and in April he moved the mill from a cramped three-story house in Hallowell to a larger building in Monmouth.
But even as the 30-year-old company has grown, Kaufman and his team have never lost touch with its roots.
On a recent afternoon at the mill, master weaver John Smith tended to the 1940s looms as shuttles and bobbins pulled the weft (horizontal) threads through the warp (vertical) threads to make cloth. Nearby, artisans twisted fringe on the blankets by hand while sewers finished edges. Kaufman flitted from bolt to bolt of alpaca and cotton, admiring and considering. From start to finish, a single linen throw or wool blanket is carefully worked on by many different sets of hands.
“It is an heirloom product,” Kaufman says. “You will have it for your children, and we’re proud of that.” And if he has his way, many more people will be wrapped in Brahms Mount’s wares for years to come.
115 Main St., Freeport, Maine, 800-545-9347, brahmsmount.com.
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