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1939—1945 High Performance Textiles

Leonard Frieder,
Assumed the
Presidency of Gentex
in 1940

During the First World War, Klots (the company), renamed General Silk, manufactured silk cartridge bags and flourished under the direction of Marcus Frieder. Marcus built or purchased several silk mills throughout the eastern United States and made General Silk into one of the largest silk fiber processors in the world. However, with the advent of synthetic fibers as alternatives to silk in the 1920s, and with the onset of the Great Depression, the company was eventually forced into bankruptcy. Despite all this, the Frieder family persevered and in 1932, Marcus and his son Leonard bought and reorganized General Silk, renaming it General Textile Mills. By the time Marcus died in 1940 and Leonard assumed the presidency, the company's textile expertise had led it to the development of engineered textile products for use in high performance applications.