Artifacts of the textile technology
The Old Factory boasts a unique collection of machines and devices used in the past in the textile factories in Bielsko-Biała. Most of them were used in the production of woolen coarse fabrics, including the famous Bielsko dresses. Some of them were made many years ago in the local factories, while the other were brought to “the Silesian Manchester” from such places as Czechoslovakia, Germany, Great Britain and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The four rooms correspond to particular sections of the former factory. In the spinning mill, wool was spun into yarn. One may distinguish here: a triple-component carding machine (1895) and a self-actor mule (1890) from G. Josephy’s machine factory in Bielsko; there is also a carding willow to open and mix the raw material (“Befama”, 1958). In the preliminary treatment mill, the yarn was prepared for weaving, forming a warp dressing and a weft in winding machines, warping machines, winders and twisting machines. In a separate room with a glazed window overlooking the preliminary treatment mill, there is a master’s office, who used to supervise workers. Next to it, there is a small laboratory where wool, yarn and ready products were examined. The weaving mill boasts a collection of looms: from the simplest hand looms, through Jacquard to power looms. One may find here, e.g. an English power loom for cotton textiles manufactured by G. Hattersley (1906), a power buckskin loom “Schwabe” from Bielsko (1930s) and post-war looms without shuttles from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Czechoslovakia. Textiles underwent the final processing in the finishing mill, involving e.g. fulling in a cylinder fulling mill, raising in teaselling machines, and finally making the textile surface even in shearing machines. Part of the room has been allocated to the complex of machines for hat production, such as a cone carding machine, an eccentric felting machine, two fulling mills, a head extruding press, a brim drawing frame and a drawing frame for broader brims, from various 20th-century European manufacturing plants.