Toyota Indiana Factory Helps Wounded Troops Overseas
The Toyota manufacturing plant in Indiana is famous for producing the Sequoia, Sienna, Highlander, and Highlander Hybrid. But there’s something else the factory produces that isn’t as well-known—fabric used to make quilts for wounded troops overseas.
The fabric is created by a 1926 automatic loom, which is part of the exhibit at the Toyota Visitors Center.
You might wonder why the center has a loom—before the company began manufacturing automobiles, it was a loom-maker called Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. Several times a day, tour guides switch the loom on to demonstrate its workings to visitors, and cotton fabric is produced. The fabric is then used by Linda Swinford, a resident of Southern Illinois who makes and ships quilts and other handmade items to military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The partnership began when Swinford and her husband visited the plant where their Toyota Sienna was made. While taking the tour, Swinford noticed the fabric being made and thought it would be perfect to use as backing for her quilts. She asked factory representatives whether the fabric had a use, and Toyota agreed to donate it to be used for the quilts.
The backing is important because it’s the part of the quilt that directly touches the skin. Typically, good fabric costs anywhere from $12 to $14 per yard, and Swinford uses 3.5 yards per quilt. Before Toyota began donating the material, Swinford and her group of volunteers were limited to the number of quilts they could afford to make. Now, the group is able to create and send more quilts than ever before.
The loom is on display at the Toyota Indiana Visitors Center, which offers free tours to guests.
News Source: Evansville Courier & Press