In 1922, brothers Jack and Lazure Goodman formed the Real Silk Hosiery Company, one of the first companies to sell women’s hosiery door-to-door. At the height of their success in 1929, Real Silk sold over 12 million pairs of women’s silk hosiery, or 6% of all United States sales of the product. Real Silk had production mills in Indianapolis; Linton, Indiana; Dalton, Georgia; and Mississippi. At the time, it was one of the three largest manufacturing units of hosiery in the United States.
The company took a brief downturn due to rising silk prices and the Great Depression, and management changed hands from the Goodman brothers to successful Indianapolis business man Gustave Efroymson, who had owned the H.P. Wasson Department Store. Efroymson focused on cutting costs, and by 1934, the company was back on its feet. Even a violent labor dispute in April and May of 1934 did not damage the financial resurrection of Real Silk.
During World War II, in addition to women’s hosiery, Real Silk secured a number of government contracts to manufacture parachute sleeves, and hosiery for soldiers. When Efroymson died in 1946, the company was again booming. Efroymson’s son, Robert, took over the company upon his father’s passing. Unfortunately, the end of World War II meant the beginning of the end for Real Silk. By 1957, sales had declined and Robert closed the remaining manufacturing facilities, including the original Indianapolis location. Robert liquidated other assets and converted Real Silk, Inc. into a closed investment company which appears to have ceased operations in the late 1990’s.
The Real Silk Hosiery Mill was located at 611 N. Park, and is now a condominium building. Beautiful Real Silk advertisements have been featured as part of HI’s Ladies Lounge.