In 1850, Boston Industrialist Benjamin Bates formed Bates Manufacturing Company, a textile mill in Lewiston, Maine. This textile mill contributed largely in the transformation of a small agricultural village to a large industrial city. In less than ten years, this had become one of the largest textile producers in New England. The company, in various forms and under various owners, would continue to do business for almost 150 years, developing a national reputation for its elegant bedspreads and other stylish fabrics. Maine Heritage Weavers began after Bates closed with a group of former Bates Manufacturing employees who learned from their parents and grandparents, the early craftsmen of the legendary Bates Fabrics' candlewick and matelasse bedspread line, how to weave and finish bedspreads loomed for beauty with the quality and durability of an heirloom. The last generation of Bates manufacturing employees are now the first generation of Maine Heritage Weavers. These former Bates Fabrics employees use the same equipment to weave these superior quality bedspreads as taught to them by their parents and grandparents.