Order Your Copy of Historic Clermont County An Illustrated History
Historic Clermont County
Order Form


By Aileen M. Whitt
New Richmond Ohio, Historical Collections, 1997

Mill Photo

The J & H Clasgens Woolen Mill was the largest industry in New Richmond Ohio for many years. It was originally founded by brothers Joseph and Henry Clasgens in Newtown on the Little Miami River in 1855, with formal establishment as Clermont Woolen Mills in 1862.

In 1865 the brothers relocated in New Richmond Ohio in a three-story wooden structure below New Richmond, manufacturing at that time blankets, flannels, and finished woolens. In 1890 the brothers moved to the three-story building at the corner of Ohio and Augusta streets on the riverfront, later referred to as the River Mill, where wool yarns were manufactured. The plant was run by steam engines. Henry died in 1893 and Joseph in 1909, but descendants have operated the business since.

The business suffered severe flood damage in 1937. Later buying the Dormer Brothers Manufacturing plant at 2383 state Route 132, Clasgens began making worsted yarns. Joseph H. Clasgens was president and general manager of the company for many years. Vincent P. Clasgens, who formerly was a wool dyer, became superintendent of the River Mill. Raw wool was obtained from Australia and New Zealand, as well as from local sheep. Formerly brought over by ferry from the C.& O. Railroad across the river, the wool was later trucked in.

At one time much of the baseball yarns required by the American, National, and minor baseball leagues came from Clasgens.

During World War II the company employed more than 200 people in two shifts making wool liners for leather gloves for the military, with a government inspector present on the premises. Large supplies of dyed yarns were sent to weaving companies out west where it was woven into neckties, vests, blankets, rugs, and wall hangings. This operation continues today on a smaller scale. The dyehouse operation was discontinued in the 1970's and the yarn is now sent to Maysville for dyeing before shipping to the buyers.

The River Mill burned to the ground on Halloween night in 1981. Joseph H. Clasgens died January 7, 1974, having retired some years before. His son, Joseph H. Clasgens II, came into the company in the 1950's, and now operates the business on a reduced scale. Marian Gilfillen has been the secretary and bookkeeper in the company office since the 1940's.