A History of the Milnes Family in the Carpet Trade

George, Freedy, Wesley, Violet, John, and Kenneth Milnes
George, Freedy, Wesley, Violet, John, and Kenneth Milnes

The Milnes family and carpet have a long, interconnected history. It’s not just a phrase to say we go “way back.” A Milnes family Bible was presented to John Milnes over 130 years ago as a wedding gift. It still remains in the family’s possession as of 2023, and contains birth and death records. What we know about their involvement in the history of carpeting in England and America is as follows:

In 1856 George and Freedy Milnes came to this country from Bradford, England. This village is located in Yorkshire which is in the northern part of the country near Scotland. They raise sheep in those colder climes, and Bradford was known as a woolen town, meaning that it was an area that manufactured woolen yarn and fabric products. So it was natural for the family to continue in the textile trade in their new country.

George and Freedy’s son John started the family business in 1910. It was then known as National Tapestry Company and produced woven high-­end upholstery fabrics with intricate designs on jacquard looms. During the lean years that followed, including the Great Depression, the company diversified and began making narrow tapes used in the garment industry, in particular for military uniforms. John’s son, Wesley Milnes, Sr., was born in 1889, and he continued the mill very successfully along with his brother-­in-­law, Ralph Shaw. Wesley and his wife, Minnie Bond Milnes, had 10 children, and the fifth child, Kenneth Bond Milnes, started the present Bond Products, Inc. in 1947 as a proprietorship, then incorporated in 1953.

Bond Narrow Fabric Co. began as a distributor of “narrow fabrics.” This is defined as fabrics less than 6″ wide: woven, knitted, braided, non-woven or other construction. Kenneth’s brothers, Wesley, Jr. and Arthur Milnes, were active in Bond Products during the 1950s, When Arthur’s son, Richard Milnes, began working in the family business as a shipping clerk at 17 in 1960, the company sold a small amount of cotton carpet binding tape, mostly 1-1/4″ and 1-1/2″ width. This was made at a local mill in Philadelphia.

In 1963 Bond introduced the first “one-pass” narrow binding tape in 13/16″ width. This binding was applied by a zigzag stitch sewing machine using clear monofilament thread on the top side, and a conventional filament bobbin thread. The machine was introduced that year by a company named Broadloom Speedbinder, Inc. A few years later they introduced a portable version of this machine. By the late 1960s, Bond was the leading producer of this new style of carpet binding tape.

In 1966 Bond was the second company to manufacture hot-melt carpet seaming tape. This was a major item in our product line for a long number of years, and continues to sell today.

Milnes family Bond Products
Top left to right: Wesley Milnes, Kenneth Bond Milnes (our founder), Scott Heilman, David Schaible Bottom left to right: Belton Dunlop, Betty Ewing, Pamela Andrews, Richard Milnes

Bond Products was acquired in 1974 by the family business, National Tapestry, which was known by that time as Wayne Mills Co. In 1980 we added a non-woven synthetic binding tape that became very popular. In 1987 we opened our sewing equipment division and entered the machine market. Our line of machines has evolved to include carving and cutting equipment and a wide variety of specialty products used in the creation and installation of carpet and rugs.

When Richard Milnes retired from full­-time employment in 2002, it was sold to his son, Brian Milnes, the present owner, who was already working for the family business at that time. So the family that brought their textile background here in 1856 continues to progress in this very competitive industry and now specializes in products for the floor covering trade.

Over 76 years and under four generations of Milnes guidance, Bond Products continues to offer innovative products and accessories to the floor covering trade, remaining in tune to the needs of our loyal customers and the carpet business as a whole.



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