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Join the VDTA as we learn the history and origins of industry thread companies. For the next several months, look for one
or two new articles in each issue, revealing the fascinating story of how your favorite thread companies came to be.
If you have a story of your own about a thread company or thread history, please contact our editor Tonya at tonya@vdta.com.
We kick off this series with the rich history of Madeira Threads.

Madeira® Threads

Aeroflock Premium Serger Thread
The Madeira Logo: "The colorful butterfly in Madeira's logo represents Madeira's marketing philosophy that puts customers into the focus of its attention. Just the way a butterfly transforms out of its grey pupa, embroiderers and quilters create colorful and lively masterpieces
out of a simple spool of thread."

With Tacony Sewing Central, a brand owned by Tacony Corporation, as the exclusive U.S. distributor of its home sewing threads, Madeira® had stood the test of time, offering the utmost in quality to home sewers and top designers alike. The word "Madeira" references the Portuguese island of Madeira known for its famous embroideries. In centuries past, embroidered artworks from this island were exported to royal households across the globe.

Like Tacony Corporation, Madeira is a family-owned group of companies that prioritizes service excellence and consumer success. With a long-standing headquarters and production site in Freiburg, Germany near the Black Forest, Madeira was established in 1919 under the name Burkhardt & Schmidt Garnfabrik. The company mainly produced cotton sewing threads, and by the 1950s had embraced the production of cotton embroidery threads as well.

As the 50s drew to a close, Rudolph Schmidt, son of the company's founder, had a vision of machine embroidery thread made from viscose with the hope of embodying more luster into machine-embroidered projects. Viscose, however, was only used in the production of choice fabrics, which meant inventing of a whole new type of thread. Developing the technology needed to produce viscose propelled the company forward, and soon a perfected machine embroidery thread made of viscose was released to market – called "Madeira No. 40." As it stands, Madeira was the first company worldwide to successfully launch high-quality embroidery thread made from 100% pure viscose for the commercial embroidery industry.

In 1975, the company formally changed its name from Burkhardt & Schmidt Garnfabrik to "Madeira Garnfabrik" due to the fame and popularity of Madeira No. 40 thread. During the 1980s, brothers Michael and Urlich Schmidt assumed leadership of the company as 3rd generation to the company's founder. Then in 1987, the brothers founded sister-company "Madeira Garne" with another production site that wound Madeira threads on small spools for the consumer − not just commercial − market.

Over the years, Madeira developed the first polyester embroidery thread known as "Neon" for neon signal colors, e.g. for safety jackets. As the company literature explains, the color range of "Neon" was extended and the thread renamed "Polyneon" for the polyester embroidery thread in highly-strained textiles and clothes that undergo frequent washing. Madeira also became a leading manufacturer of high-quality special effect threads with metallic threads such as "Metallic 40" and "Supertwist," the Haute Couture's sparkling thread.

Their product range has endlessly expanded, bringing even more creative potential to market. "Aerofil," a premium quality sewing thread, first debuted in the early 2000s. Other products soon emerged, including "Frosted Matt," a machine embroidery thread as matte as chalk, "Lana 12," a thread that looks like fur, and "GoldenSilver," a thread with a pure silver coating.

One of Madeira's newer, featured threads is Madeira® Aeroflock Premium Serger Thread. Voluminous and fluffy, Aeroflock is exceptionally smooth and maintains high elasticity for durable results on any fabric. Used for activewear, swimwear, and inside sewing on garments, its 100% polyester construction provides trouble-free sewability even on the most sophisticated multi-function sergers and sewing machines.

Aeroflock Premium Serger Thread and all of Madeira's threads are tested and inspected throughout all phases of production. Technicians test the raw materials, thread quality before and after dyeing, thread performance under all types of production conditions, compliance with washing standards, and perform others tests to comply with DIN and ISO specifications. Madeira also complies with the stringent production standards laid out by Oeko-Tex 100 certification, making optimum use of natural resources, and ensures production does not harm the environment.

Today, the Madeira Group is still run by Michael and Urlich Schmidt, and soon will be celebrating its 100th anniversary! It stands as a family-owned global player with 400 employees around the world and several subsidiaries in Europe, the U.S., and Asia. Madeira® home sewing threads are distributed exclusively in the U.S. by Tacony Sewing Central, a brand owned by Tacony Corporation.

Thread Series: Madeira® Thread Sources:
http://garne.madeira.de/en/company/history/
http://www.feelingstitchy.com
Stitches From an Island in the Atlantic, parts I and II.

Reprinted from SQE Professional, July 2017