Staying Vertical: A Mill Tour
Fresh from last week's archival BBC sheep-recognition footage, we're still in the UK for a quick tour through one of the country's older vertical woolen mills.
Originally, the term "vertical" was a literal description of how a mill operated. Vertical mills relied on gravity to move goods from floor to floor as they made their way through the manufacturing process.
Today, vertical manufacturing is more about having greater control over the production process by keeping it all under one roof—regardless of how many floors that roof may cover. In the textiles world, corporate consolidations and a reliance on cheap global supply chains have turned the vertical mill into somewhat of a rarity.
We have American Woolen Co. and Faribault and a few other holdouts in the United States. The UK, with its rich textile history, has several more, including today's guest tour guide, Abraham Moon & Sons.
Founded in 1837 and still operating in Guiseley, Yorkshire, Moon & Sons does everything but the scouring. They dye, blend, card, spin, dress, warp, draw in, and weave all their fabric, which they then meticulously mend and finish in-house.
The video (keep scrolling) was produced by and for Moon & Sons, so you won't find any muckraking journalism here. But it provides some gorgeous footage of the entire wool fabric manufacturing process. As a bonus, we also get to see archival swatch books that date back over a century.
The company currently only ships within the UK. For the rest of us who can't be there in person, the magic of video still brings us pretty close. Retail will have to come later.
Pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy!