Real Silk Hosiery was one of the more successful and well known manufacturers in Indianapolis of yesteryear. Lucky we are that the Real Silk Lofts, (where hosiery, lingerie, undergarments and eventually products needed for World War II were created) are still there. That water tower makes me smile every time I catch a glimpse of it. Real Silk operations began in 1922 and ceased¬† in the 1950’s. Check out a few of the fun adverts (for sale on ebay right now) from our very own Real Silk through a few decades:¬† 1925


1938 & 1939


Sewing kits, date unknown–these are often just as artistically beautiful as the adverts are–anyone out there remember owning a pair or seeing a female relative with any Real Silk goods? If I lived there, I’d have a huge collection of this stuff on display…

17 responses to “Ladies Lounge: Real Silk Hosiery”

  1. P.J. says:

    Tiffany–You’ve given me a great idea! I want to frame some vintage ads to hang in the ‘common area’ for our future guests & was thinking about Arrow or others with colorful art. Now I think it would be more appropriate to feature ads from companies in Indiana. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Amanda says:

    My grandparents both worked at Real Silk when they met. The story goes that my grandfather kept asking to walk my grandmother to her car after work, but she didn’t really like him very much (she said he was arrogant). One day she worked late and was stuck needing someone to walk her to her car. I guess he managed to charm her from the door to the parking lot because they were married for over 50 years! A picture I took of that water tower still hangs in the house my grandfather built for her where my parents now live.

  3. Robin Vermillion says:

    My late grandma worked for Real Silk and I just bought an old ad for the company on ebay. She loved working there.

  4. Tiffany Benedict Berkson says:

    Those ads are really terrific, aren’t they? My grandma also worked there during WWII!

  5. Gary Barsch says:

    My father, Jerry Barsch, worked for Real Silk Hosiery Mills, in the Long Beach, CA office from about 1935 to 1942. He was a field salesman for the area south of Imperial Highway, in Los Angeles County, including Catalina Island, and all of Orange County, California. I remember his sales valise with samples and order pads. He took orders and would deliver orders in his sales area. I just wish I had the sales valise for you to examine. The logo is very interesting to me, being a retired typographer. The pseudo-Oriental lettering style was unusual, in that Jerry made signs for his car with the logo. Many, many memories.

  6. Chris says:

    I have a handheld silk washer board from Real Silk Mills in great condition. The warning label is still on the back Not to use an ordinary wash board. Wonder if a museum would be interested. It is such a cool piece!

  7. Kimberly Rivard says:

    Hi, I have been in touch with the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis about 4 photos I have of Real Silk employee’s at a company picnic at the Brown County State Park. They are wide panorama views and are in great shape.
    My grandmother told me the company, my relatives name and location she thought as this was her Aunt Minnie (Beyers) place of employment. I remember this relative as as kid.
    Anyway, the museum staff did not have any of these photos so I am sending to them so others may enjoy.
    Eric L. Mundell
    Director, Collections Management
    Indiana Historical Society
    450 W. Ohio Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46202-3269
    Library main line: (317) 232-1879

  8. Ruth says:

    I just found an advertising thimble from the Real Silk Hosiery Company at an estate sale. Thank you for sharing the company history here.

  9. Ron Fortner says:

    My mom and dad met at Real Silk.
    Ron fortner. I was born in 1942 Goose Creek, sc

  10. Tom Hile says:

    I have two receipts where my grandmother bought hosiery from them in 1923!

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Linda Blase says:

    My grandmother used to sell from their catalog. I used to sit on a rocker on their porch and pour over the catalog as a child. She lived on Prairie Street in Elkhart, Indiana!

  13. Molly DePATIE says:

    I found a letter to my brother from Real Silk Hosiery Mills, Inc. from R.A. Jenkins, San Jose, CA , Supervisor-Manager datedMay 21, 1934. It describes an all expense paid trip to the Mills contest to determine the most outstanding new and veteran College representatives.

  14. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:

    Cool find! Do you know anything else about it?

  15. Jennifer L Harrison says:

    I recently found an un opened “Milafy’s mending kit” pocket size…any info on this…it was my grandmas

  16. Lisa Vinson says:

    I recently bought a nightgown with a Real Silk Mills tag from an estate sale.

  17. Ann McCutchan says:

    Hi. I’m researching my father’s history (he died in 1974) and just discovered he belonged to the Washington, D.C. Board of Trade in 1940 representing Real Silk Hosiery Mills. Does anyone have an idea of what this could mean? Was he a field rep? Salesman? He was from Indiana. Thanks!

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