Textile Humidifiers Specialty for Agnew Bahnson

Workers at Mayo Mills, circa 1900.

On March 21, 1966, textile manufacturer Agnew Hunter Bahnson died.

Born in Salem in 1886, Bahnson attended UNC before starting to work in the textile business. He started out as an apprentice at Mayo Mills in Mayodan and then moved to Loray Mills in Gastonia where he fixed loom machines.

A 1918 patent for an air-moistening device invented by Bahnson’s brother Frederic.

His first supervisory job came in 1909, when he became superintendent of a Greensboro mill, and after working with a mill in Virginia for a time, he returned to North Carolina where he led Arista Mills in Winston-Salem. He assumed leadership roles in other mills, too, consolidating some of their operations.

Bahnson’s brother Frederic patented several pressure regulators and humidifiers for use in textile plants in the 1910s and 20s, and the brothers formed the Normalair Company in 1915 to manufacture and sell those devices. The company was renamed the Bahnson Company in 1925, and it continues to operate to this day.

Bahnson was a lifelong supporter of the Moravian Church, which first brought his ancestors to the Triad region, and of Salem College.

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