Saturday we continued our exploration of factory tours in York, Pennsylvania. We started the day at Family Heir-Loom Weavers (http://www.familyheirloomweavers.com/). Family Heir-Loom Weavers is one of the last surviving textile mills in the United States that weaves on old fashioned Jacquard looms. Jacquard looms were invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801. The loom uses large punch cards to control if the weft (the yarn that is drawn thru) is above or below the warp (the lengthwise yarn). It was really amazing seeing the complex designs that can be made using the large punch cards. It did bring back some memories of sitting at a card punch machine creating programs for old IBM mainframe computers.
Family Heir-Loom Weavers has done recreations of historic pieces that can be seen in nine Presidential Homes and a long list of historic sites, famous homes and museums across the country. Fabric they have made has also been seen in a number of movies and has been used to create uniforms for Civil War re-enactments. Watching the looms run and seeing the old machines that create the warp and thread the shuttles was fascinating.
From there we went to the Sunrise Soap Company (http://www.sunrisesoapco.com/) which produces all natural soaps bars and lotions. This tour started with a discussion of the reasons to use natural soaps instead of the mass produced store bought products. The owner then made a batch of soap and some of her new shower fizzes. We left the Sunrise Soap Company with some of their products to keep us clean as we wander down the road. (Luckily soap does not cost nearly as much of walnut chairs).
We finished the day off in ‘Made in America’ style by grilling some hot dogs over a wood campfire for dinner.