The fully functioning 1:2 scale Bologna-make silk mill model, rebuilt by the museum, restores this extraordinary machine to its place in history after it was lost in the XIX century; as the time it stood as the climax of European technology before the industrial revolution. Indeed, starting in the XV century Bologna was leader in silk production thanks to technology and process advancements, which determined its prominent position on the international stage.
Mills, located in the north-western area of the city, were used to mechanise part of the silk production process, and more specifically thread winding, that is, the passage from spools to reels, and its twisting, that is the combination of multiple threads for a stronger silk yarn.
Silk processing happened within the mill walls and the whole process was managed by entrepreneur traders. The negotiations to purchase the cocoons took place in current Piazza Galvani, while the production methods used in the other phases of the cycle were multiple: there were dedicated centres for thread reeling; silk mills were full-fledged factories; hundreds of women wove the fabric from their homes and finally the product was finished in specific workshops.
1980s Photographic archive Museo del Patrimonio Industriale