Warren, Rhode Island’s Handkerchief History
As I spent the past few days battling a runny nose, I knew I was going to have to deal with constant nose-wiping throughout my on-air shift, something nobody wants to endure. As I left the house to come into work, I grabbed the old standby for days like this: the good ol’ handkerchief.
Handkerchiefs, though, have fallen out of favor over the years. The odd looks I get from co-workers or people out in public when I pull it out of my pocket, wipe my nose, and stuff it back in are evidence of that.
For many, the idea of using a “snot rag” and then pushing it back into your pocket is gross. I promise you, though, I’ve gone to far grosser lengths when dealing with post-nasal drip.
When I spent a few years cooking in the corporate cafe inside a warehouse setting, I had a unique trick for dealing with a runny nose – I’d take a package of the free foam earplugs provided for warehouse workers and jam them up my nose. Worked like a charm.
Anyway, the use of a handkerchief may be a lost art in the time of disposable facial tissue, but it still resonates with some.
I began thinking today about New Bedford and Fall River’s textile history, and wondering how many of those old mills either directly or indirectly had a hand in the handkerchief.
As it turns out, not that far from here, there was a factory that specialized in the production of handkerchiefs in Warren, Rhode Island. The Warren Handkerchief Factory, as it was so cleverly named, was built in the late 1800s and was a key part of the area’s mills and factories during the textile era.
I tried to find some information online about the history of the factory, and even tried making a few phone calls, but came up empty. What I did find, though, is that the building has been repurposed and subdivided for commercial tenants – including the manufacturing of Tito’s chips and salsa.
While the Warren Handkerchief Factory is now just a name that’s a nod to history, it once stood as a bastion against boogers, a mainstay against mucus, a stronghold against snot.
And that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Beware of These 50 Jobs That Might Vanish in the Next 50 Years