Mechanics and magic in Caraglio’s Silk Factory
Part of Piedmont’s history was woven in Caraglio’s Silk Factory, an icon of the economy’s transition from farming to industry in the South of the region, from the 17th century on.
Indeed, two thirds of the taxes cashed in by the Savoy State between the late 1600s and the early 1800s came from the business of silk: the unwitting seed of what would grow to be a flourishing mechanical sector, which reached its height in Piedmont during the 20th century.
The Silk Factory in Caraglio was built between 1676 and 1678, and is the oldest infrastructure of its kind in Europe. The massive machines it in the factory are perfect replicas of the original ones used in the 17th century. They are activated by a hydraulic wheel, powered – at twenty liters per second – by a flow of spring water, so warm it never freezes: this ideal temperature was indeed one of the elements that led founder Giovanni Girolamo Galleani to build his great plant in this specific location.
The mechanics and magic of these inner workings in action are a glimpse of the future, the way it appeared centuries ago.