Gentex is a privately held company that focuses on the manufacture of U.S. and international military, special forces, commercial, law enforcement, emergency medical services and First Responder Personal Protective Equipment products, as well as aluminized fabrics, Lifetex Fabrics, Clearweld, Filtron and Precision Polymer Processors. The Gentex Corporation began operation as the Klots Throwing Company in Carbondale, Pennsylvania in the late 19th century. Initially located in New York, the throwing plant owned by Henry Durrell Klots burned down in 1894. After the fire, Marcus Frieder, bookkeeper for Klots, suggested building in Carbondale to use the untapped workforce of wives and daughters of local coal miners. Henry Klots agreed and named Frieder manager of the new plant and eventually, secretary and general manager of the company. Frieder became president upon the death of Henry Klots in 1914. During World War I, Klots manufactured silk cartridge bags under the direction of President Frieder. However, Rayon was introduced as an alternative to silk in the 1920s, and by the beginning of the Great Depression, the company was forced into bankruptcy.