textile mills

Before officially becoming Central Falls, the area was nicknamed ‘Chocolateville’ due to the fact that the first chocolate manufacturer in the country was located alongside more the more traditional textile mills in the area. A man named Wheat made chocolate in the same building as Charles Keene’s tool manufacturing business beginning in the early 1800s. It became a popular draw for visitors on the road to Providence.

Kylux Modern Art Modern AU (from a prompt by my spouse for Trans Hux Tuesday)

The renowned collaborative art duo Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux set up Starkiller Gallery in a former Calderdale textile mill four years ago. Although two floors of the gallery are given over to the sale of more traditional works of art the main attraction is in the massive space that previously housed the looms.

Completely unknown within the British art scene before the gallery opened, the pair are now best known for the huge mechanical sculptures built on site by Hux. Measuring up to twenty feet in height and thirty in length, each creation is then torn apart by Ren in elaborate performance art shows. These performances often involve the use of fire, lasers, or electricity to warp or remove portions of the structures. This process allows the previously non-functional sculptures to become viable automata, clockwork, or whimsical Rube Goldberg machines. The amount of planning that goes into these pieces is as impressive as the performances themselves; Hux often makes as much money selling limited edition copies of his blueprints as he does selling the admittedly unwieldy sculptures themselves.

Despite their frequent media appearances the pair are both surprised and thankful that no one has recognised them yet. But then fine art connoisseurs and gossip columnists rarely interact. Even if they did, who is going to associate bearded, military-styled Armitage and Kylo the man mountain with the old scandal around society heartthrob Ben Solo and a model named Armelle, the illegitimate daughter of Major General Brendol Hux?

It’s been eight years since the twenty two year old grandson of Viscount Bail Organa scandalously eloped with his pregnant girlfriend. They were in the headlines for a few weeks after lawyers for late Prime Minister Palpatine announced that Armelle would be, as the first of his grandchildren to marry, the sole inheritor of his estate. But when the couple cut off contact with their famous families and failed to reappear in their usual social circles they were soon forgotten in favour of fresh drama and the latest controversy.

The Palpatine inheritance included a number of properties in London, apparently used to house the man’s string of lovers. They sold all but the penthouse apartment close to St Martins College. Ben had taken a degree in Land Management like his peers, whilst his spouse had been discouraged from pursuing a career in engineering in favour of their mother’s own aspirations. An evening class at the art school soon led to fine art degrees for them both and some life changing realisations in the process. 

Hux has actually met people he worked with before his transition and friends of his father at their art shows. So far they’ve only commented on the coincidence of the unusual surname. It always makes him laugh. Things get a little awkward when journalists ask thoughtless questions about the twins they assume are adopted, but the whole family is well practiced at changing the subject. Life is about the art now.


I finally figured out what I want to do with the pier area of Windenburg! Inspired by @simmingstuff’s awesomely creative Old Port Fish Market, I started working on a tech company housed in a renovated old textile mill. My whole rotation was on hold because I’ve had a heckuva time with this tech company - my attempts at building something modern were failing completely. :-p But I’m liking this so far (even though it looks a bit like a prison or a strict boarding school at the moment, heh).


Lewis Hine, Composite Photographs of Child Laborers, 1913

from The Public Domain Review:

Between 1908 and 1911, the photographer and social reformer Lewis Hine travelled the U.S. for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) documenting child labor — in factories, textile mills, canneries, and coal mines — focusing in particular on the Carolina Piedmont. Amongst the hundreds of photographs he made in this time is this unique set of composite photographs of Southern cotton mill workers featured below. Each image was created by purposively rephotographing several workers upon the same photographic plate. The idea of overlaying portraits in this way was not without precedent. The technique was invented in 1880s by Sir Francis Galton who used multiple exposures to create an “average” portrait from many different faces. For Galton, the primary purpose of the method was so as to advance his views on human ideal types, and it could be argued that Hine used it in a similar way (albeit divorced from the somewhat suspect context of phrenology), to generalise his observations regarding the damaging physical effects of the back-breaking factory work on young bodies. However, the fact that Hine overlays faces of quite different physicality perhaps implies a subtler motive, one perhaps more orientated around the haunting quality of the final image. The composites were never published in Hine’s lifetime, although the portraits of the same children used in the process do appear in posters for the NCLC alongside such headlines as “Making Human Junk: Shall Industry Be Allowed To Put This Cost On Society?”. In general, Hine’s heart-rending images from his time with the NCLC — often the result of putting himself at great personal danger — helped to influence the change in several laws, including the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act of 1916.


I fell in love with this apartment today in Coventry, Rhode Island that used to be an old textile mill 

Bonjour, America! Why An Open Border Was Great

“From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, nearly a million French Canadians poured across our northern border to take jobs in New England textile and shoe mills. The majority of these job seekers — French speaking, slow to assimilate, mainly Catholic — entered without visas, work permits or passports, because during most of this period our land border with Canada was effectively wide open.

Most flocked to mill towns in New England, where they powered the textile factories that boomed after the Civil War. In a pattern that reflects today’s Mexican migration, they followed family members to places where jobs were plentiful, but hard and undesirable. Their labor was in such demand that mill owners sent recruiters to Quebec to hire more. Entire villages would relocate south, usually by train, swelling the populations of towns like Biddeford, Me.; Southbridge, Mass.; and Woonsocket, R.I., whose populations by 1900 were more than 60 percent French Canadian.

As with Mexican migrants today, not everyone welcomed this influx. One Massachusetts official called French Canadians “the Chinese of the eastern states” in an 1881 report that described them as “indefatigable workers” who had no interest in assimilating and drove American wages down. They were even vilified at home in Quebec, where religious and political leaders sent emissaries to woo them back.

Some did return, but the majority stayed and assimilated. Besides helping to fuel New England’s manufacturing boom, thousands served in the world wars. Rene Gagnon, whose Quebec-born mother worked at a shoe factory in Manchester, N.H., was one of the Marines photographed raising the American flag over Iwo Jima in 1945. The author Jack Kerouac was born of French Canadian parents in Lowell, Mass.”


The Guns of Garand, Part I — Primer Actuated Bugaboo

 John Cantius Garand is perhaps one of the most important firearms designers in American history, inventor of the legendary M1 Garand, standard arm of the American infantryman during World War II and what Gen. Patton referred to as “The greatest battle implement ever devised”.  Ironically, one of America’s most important gun designers was not American, but in fact French Canadian by birth, born Jean Garand (his last name rhyming with “errand”) on a small farm near St. Remy, Quebec in 1888. Garand was an avid hunter and target shooter who had a penchant for mechanics and machinery.  In his early life he worked as an engineer for various textile mills and tool companies.  In 1917 he was appointed as a designer for the US Bureau of Standards, later becoming a firearms designer for Springfield Armory, then the national armory for the US Military.

The first Garand design was a light machine gun called the Model 1919.

Patented on Sept. 5th, 1919, the M1919 was a light machine gun that was similar in concept to the M1917 Browning Automatic Rifle.  The M1919 was fully automatic and featured a 20 or 30 round detachable magazine.  The M1919 utilized a primer actuated blowback system in which the primer was allowed to move back slightly, and in so doing, it was to transmit this motion through the firing pin to an actuator which would open the breech and extract the empty cartridge, after which the  gun would be reloaded by the action of a spring which had been compressed during the first motion.

The US Army was impressed with Garand’s design, however they did not adopt it due to their acceptance of the M1917 Browning Automatic Rifle.  Thus, Springfield Armory encouraged Garand to modify the M1919 into a semi automatic infantry rifle.  A year later, Garand introduced the M1920, a lightweight semi automatic version of the M1919 featuring a turning bolt of his own design.

The new M1920 was more compact and lighter than the M1920, and featured either a 20 or 30 round detachable magazine, or a clip fed box magazine. His next model, the M1921 was designed to be more in line with military specifications for an infantry rifle at the time.  It featured a fixed 5 round box magazine.  More importantly Garand did away with the turnbolt action of the M1920, replacing it was a straight action which locked at the rear.

The final Garand model was the M1923, also designated the M1924, which was a culmination of all his previous work, made to be lighter and easier to produce using less expensive materials.

Overall John Garand’s primer actuated system was successful, however, after the development of the M1921, the US Army changed the type of gun powder in the .30-06 cartridge, the standard infantry cartridge of the time.  As a result, the new .30-06 cartridge did not work with his line of primer actuated firearms.  After five years of work, all of his designs were rendered completely useless.  Garand decided to abandon his primer actuated action, and in frustration went back to the drawing board.