Dugan Mill mimics a textile factory floor, with machines from the 1890s through the 1950s.  It features an 1890s carding machine; a mill machine shop with wooden patterns, metal patterns, a machinist’s bench, and a machinist’s or fixer’s toolbox; a winding department with three working winders; an overseer’s office; a weaving department with two looms and a creel; a print shop; and a variety of mill tools and implements.  One of the most fascinating areas of the Museum, Dugan Mill is located in a separate building that used to house the Willimantic Linen Company’s fire brigade and is set up to teach about the process of producing the cotton thread and the working conditions in old-time mills.

Spinning Machine – Used to turn the cotton sliver into thread. Machines like this were found in the American Thread Company’s Mill No. 2, and changed women’s lives forever. It can spin in one day what it would take a women perhaps 30 years to spin by hand. Historians estimated before the Industrial Revolution, 75% of a women’s lifetime was consumed with textile production. This machine was manufactured in 1952, and is powered by electricity rather than waterpower or steam. It is one-quarter-size machine that would have been used in a Testing Department. A full-sized Spinning Machine would have been four times the size, and one worker (almost always female) would tend four of them.

Winding Machine – Machines date back to 1890 and were used until the mill closed in 1985. In 1870, the Willimantic Linen Company bought a birch forest in Milo, Lakeville and Willimantic Maine. From these trees they produced the many spools and shipping crates they needed. At their peak of production, they produced 90,000 miles of thread each day.

Industrial Sewing Machines

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Weaving Loom – This Loom used flying shuttles that traveled over 60 mph. It was very dangerous as they would come off and shoot away from the machines. Women would typically run these machines. One mill girl would have several looms at one time.

Tensile Testers