Deering, Milliken and Company was founded in 1865 and had primarily been a selling house for cloth producers in the south. When Roger Milliken inherited the business in 1947, he changed the focus of the company, buying numerous mills and consolidating them into one company. By the early 1980’s, the firm operated at least 60 mills in five states. He was also one of the first to establish computerized management information systems in the textile industry, and, in so doing, Milliken became the industry leader in research and development. Today, Milliken is the world’s largest private textile firm.