Anton Nelson

While grain, lumber and iron are considered the three primary features of Duluth’s industries, there are other enterprises that serve to broaden and diversify the industrial program, and one of the most important of these is the Nelson Knitting Mills Company, a manufacturing organization that has had a prosperous existence of many years and manufactures a line of knitted goods that are sold and distributed all over the northwestern country.

This business for many years was known as Nelson Brothers Knitting Mills. The two brothers associated in the business from the beginning were Anton and N. Edward Nelson. Anton Nelson, who was born September 16, 1865, came to America with his brother in 1892, and in that year they established their business at St. Paul, Minnesota, under the firm name of Nelson Brothers. A year later they moved their modest plant to Northfield, Minnesota, and were in business there until 1898.

The Nelson Brothers came to Duluth the first of April, 1898, and their business has enjoyed a constant growth here for over twenty years.

Their first location was at 1804 West Superior street, whence they removed in 1902 to 2101-03 West Superior, and in 1911 to their present extensive and well equipped factory at 2105-07 West Superior street.

The original title of Nelson Brothers Knitting Mills was continued until December, 1914, when the business was incorporated as the Nelson Knitting Mills Company. The company has facilities for the manufacture of a great variety of knitted goods, and its equipment is specially designed for the manufacture of sweaters, underwear and hosiery. An ample force of salesmen place the full output of the factory with retail merchants all the way from Michigan to the Pacific Coast. The products are appreciated at home as well, and a large local trade has grown up in Duluth.

Mr. Nelson is one of Duluth’s most public spirited citizens and business men. He is a member of the Danish Brotherhood of America and the Norwegian Lutheran Church. On March 27, 1893, at Northfield, Minnesota, he married Miss Anna Thorsen, a daughter of Hans Thorsen, who came from Denmark. Of the seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Nelson six are still living, named Mathilda, Edward K., Einar, Henry, Roy A. and Helen. Mathilda was educated in the public schools of Duluth and the Stout Institute at Menomonie, Wisconsin, and is now a teacher in the Middle River Consolidated School at Jackson, Minnesota.

Edward K. also attended the public schools of Duluth, was in the U. C. T. four months and is now a student in the University of Minnesota. Einar is now in his third year at the Denfield High School, while Henry is a freshman in the same high school. Roy A. and Helen are both students in the Duluth grammar schools.


  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
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