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Textron Inc. started as a small textile company in 1923, when 22-year-old Royal Little founded the Special Yarns Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts. Revenues that first year were just $75,000. This modest beginning was the seed that ultimately grew to become the world's first conglomerate, today known as the multi-industry company.

In 1943, with World War II government contracts dwindling, Little faced the challenge of declining revenue and underutilized production capacity.

He developed a vertically integrated company which controlled every aspect from raw goods processing to distribution. He moved quickly from producing parachutes to making lingerie, blouses, bed linens and other consumer products.

This new operation needed a brand name. Atlantic Rayon's advertising agency suggested \Seņorita Creations,\ but it was rejected in favor of Textron. The \Tex\ was derived from textiles and the \tron\ came from synthetics such as \Lustron.\ The theme of the advertising reflected Little's vision: \From yarn to you, it's Textron all the way.\

By 1949, Textron's sales had reached $67.8 million.

In 1952, facing yet another decline in demand for textiles, Royal Little approached the Textron Board of Directors for approval to diversify by acquiring businesses in unrelated industries. He planned to maintain textile operations as an earnings base while acquiring non-textile businesses.

In 1953, Textron purchased its first non-textile business, Burkart Manufacturing Co. of St. Louis, Missouri. This company supplied cushioning materials to the automotive market.

Little's success building a diversified company prompted other businesses to follow his model. Textron avoided many of the costly mistakes of other conglomerates by entering new lines of business with small, incremental investments, where other conglomerates made massive, headline-grabbing acquisitions when they moved into new industries.

The pace of acquisitions was great and Little referred to this activity as \cross-country buying sprees.\ Of the more important businesses added in the early 1950's were Homelite, which was retained until 1994, and Camcar and CWC, which remain part of Textron today.
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