In Maynard, Mass, the American Woolen Co.'s Assabet Mill, world's largest producer of woolen and worsted goods, closed down last week for the first time in eight years. It called the shutdown "an Easter vacation." In Atlanta, the Atlanta Woolen Mills Co. also shut its main branch. But it put no sugar coating on its reason: "We closed because we did not have enough orders to keep going."

They were by no means the only ones. In recent weeks, more than 20 woolen mills employing some 3,000 workers had been forced to close in New England alone. Thirty more were operating...

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