Doctor Denton

ADVERTISEMENT 1921 Ladies Home Journal Dr. Denton Sleeping Garments Magazine Advertisement
, 1921. Ephemera. Very Good; 1921 Ladies Home Journal Dr. Denton Sleeping Garments Magazine Advertisement. Protect Your Child’s Health. Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment Mills, Centreville, Michigan. Ad is 6 3/4″ high and 5 1/4″ across. Very good condition, suitable for framing.


Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment Knitting Mills – One of the leading industries of St. Joseph county is becoming known throughout the country under the title named above, by those who realize the hygienic necessity of being even more particular in adopting sanitary sleeping garments than these which are worn in the waking hours. At this period of all others, when nature builds up strained or exhausted vitality, it is absolutely essential to health and useful work that everything should be done to assist her in this re-creation of life. The inventor of this garment, those who have improved upon his original ideas, and the manufacturers, who have practically carried out every scientific and hygienic requirement to the letter, should be classed as public benefactors. In this class no one can be mentioned who has been more fertile in ideas or more energetic and successful in bringing them into the practical and marketable form of hygienic garments, than Frank S. Cummings of Centerville, secretary and treasurer of the company at that place.

The mill was built in 1872 and operated as the Centerville Knitting Company by leading business men and farmers of the vicinity. Among the prominent subscribers to the original stock were H. C. Campbell, Harvey Caedy, John c. Joss. W. J. Major, John I. Major, George Yauney and the five Wolf Brothers. The first period of the business may be said to have concluded in 1885 and was characterized by considerable friction and rivalry and the result being that it was thrown into the courts and assigned to one of the factions. In the year named it was sold to W. D. Ingham and Dr. Whitney Denton and until 1891 was operated under the style of Ingham & Denton,

Mr. Ingham retired from the business in 1891, and his interest was purchased by Frank S. Cummings. H. P. Stewart, and Frank Wolf, all of Centerville. The resulting firm of W. Denton & Company then assumed as a specialty the invention of Dr. Denton, a sleeping garment, the manufacture of the mills having been virtually confined heretofore to men’s underwear. At this juncture Dr. Denton emphasized and increased the hygienic quality and features of the good turned out by  the factory, particularly the sleeping garment specialty, and the business a decided impetus.

After the death of Dr. Denton in 1896, the business affairs of the company were much involved for several years, a receivership being appointed in 1899, in order to bring matters into court for adjustment. In 1900 the business was assigned to Messieurs. Cummings, Stewart, and Wolf, who immediately inaugurated a revival and expansion of the concern, which has resulted in the prosperous manufactory of the present. For a year the enterprise was conducted under the name of the W. Denton Company, but was reorganized in 1901 as a stock concern, called the Michigan Central Woolen Company. The machinery was increased in quantity and improved in quality, a large addition to the original plant was made, and the underwear turned out was of a much higher grade and in far greater bulk. Other parties became financially interest so that the means became fully adequate to the continuous expansion and the improvement along all lines. The increasing sale of the Dr. Denton  Sleeping Garment became so emphatic during the first few years of the reorganized business the in 1909 the management deemed it best to discontinue all other line of manufacture and also to re-incorporate under it present name.

The capital stock of the Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment Mills is $50,000. much credit for the largely increased business is due to W. S. Herron, vice-president, and sales manager and F. W. Thomas, general manager. Both  of these gentlemen come from Toledo, Ohio, and have had much business experience. The officers of the company are as follow; Frank S. Cummings, secretary and treasure; f. W. Thomas, general manager; W. E. Clogher, superintendent; and Frank Wolf, director..

Frank Solomon Cummings, secretary and treasurer of the Denton Sleeping Garment Mills, with numerous additional interests, is a man whose executive ability has won for him recognition in the business world and whose principles and standards, being above par, have gained for him the respect of the community in which he makes his home. He was born on a farm midway between Centerville and Three Rivers, November 6, 1860, and he is proud of the date, not from any sense of personal gratification, but because it was upon this day the Abraham Lincoln was for the firt time elected president of the United States. His parents were Charles and Hannah (Grinnell) Cummings, both natives of New York state.

The Cummings family originated in Italy, or rather the genealogy begins in Lombardy, in the forth century. They crossed the Alps into France in the sixth century, going from there to Scotland, where they remained for centuries and seem to have been conspicuous in many wars. The family was designated ass the Cumin Clan and their badge was the cumin plant. The name originated from association with the town of Comines, near Lille, on the boundary between France and Belgium. The direct ancestor of Mr. Cummings came from England (where he had earlier gone from Scotland), to Salem, Massachusetts, in 1627, seven years after the historic “Mayflower” came. This immigrant’s name was Isaac Cummings, and he was one of that large colony which formed a settlement in what is now Topsfield and Ipswich, Essex county, Massachusetts.  The lineage in the male line is as follows: Issac, John, Abr4aham, Jacob, Solomon, Solomon, Charles and Frank Solomon. Solomon, Mr. Cummings being the eighth generation in this country and named in honor of his grandfather, Dr. Solomon Cummings.

When the farm was sold and the family came into Centerville to live, Mr. Cummings was only five years old, and here he ahs ever since made his home. The father, upon his abandonment of an agricultural career, engaged in the furniture and undertaking business, and to this the son succeeded upon his father’s demise in 1883. Mr. Cummings is the second in a family of four children. An elder brother is John G. Cummings and two younger sisters are Mrs. Nellie Shaffer and Mrs. Clara gladding. With the exception of the father the original family survives.

Frank S. Cummings  was twenty-two years of age when he assumed the management of his father’s business. Some eight year later, in 1891, he made a step which was to prove of importance in his career. In company with Hugh P. Stewart and Frank Wolf he purchased an interest in the Knitting Mills located in Centerville. They were subsequently incorporated under the name of the Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment Mills with Mr. Cummings as secretary and treasurer of the concern./ This has a capital stock of $50,000, and has proved a successful and growing affair. He is also secretary of the Centerville Power Company; one of the board of managers of the Centerville Water & electric Light Company and superintendent of the Prairie River Cemetery.

Mr. Cummings is a citizen who keeps in touch with the progress of events and given his hand to any movement likely to conduce to the common good. He is a straight Republican in politics, and as he himself says, he stays straight by crossing out every crooked man on the ticket. He believes that his party stands for honesty, honor and progressiveness and that there are plenty of good men in it, and that in a moment of forgetfulness its leaders place in nomination a crooked man, the best interests of the country and the party demand that he should be defeated. He has little use for political bosses and easily recognizes the difference between a boss and a leader. Mr. Cummings regards as the crowning glory of his life, his selection as a delegate to the National Republican Convention, held in Chicago in 1908. His selection as a representative of the Fourth Congressional District resulted from the unanimous request and endorsement of the St. Joseph County Republican Convention. He has also been honored by the village by being created president of the common council. In his youth Mr. Cummings united with the Methodist Episcopal church and he is actively interested in its affairs and gives his support to its good causes.

On October 16, 1890, Mr. Cummings took as his bride Miss Eloise S. Peeke, eldest daughter of Rev. and Mrs. A. P. Peeke. Rev. Mr. Peeke was at that time pastor of the Centerville Dutch reformed church. Whatever of success or usefulness he many have achieved, Mr. Cummings attributes largely to his wife’s aid and sympathy. They have four daughters, Margaret Eloise, Jean Grinell, Deborah Provost and Josephine Starr. Mrs. Cummings and her daughters are members of and actively identified with the Centerville Presbyterian church.

Dr. Denton or Dr. Denton’s is a (historically) well-known American brand of blanket sleepers, formerly manufactured by the Dr. Denton Sleeping Garment Mills of Centreville, Michigan. The company was founded in 1865, originally as the Michigan Central Woolen Company, and from the late 19th Century through the first half of the 20th Century was probably the single best-known manufacturer of blanket sleepers in the United States. The brand was so well-known that Dr. Dentons became (and remains today) a genericized trademark. The trademark has since changed hands several times, but has remained in sporadic use by various corporate entities into recent years.

The name Dr. Denton derives from Whitley Denton, an employee of the company who created the original design on which its product line was based. The appellation of “Doctor” was a marketing gimmick, intended to give the impression that the garments were designed (and implicitly endorsed) by a medical doctor.