Thinking Vertical: The Intricacies of our Mill

/ / Company News

‘We operate from one of Great Britain’s last remaining fully-vertical woollen mills’. If you are familiar with our story, or have had a flick through the About Us pages, you will have almost certainly come across this sentence. However the question may still remain, what does it mean to be a vertical mill?

A literal definition would be that it’s when all fabric production processes are undertaken at one site, by one company. But the story is so much richer than that.

At Moon, we have worked this way ever since Abraham built our first mill in 1868, bringing together a whole community of dyers, spinners and weavers under one roof.

The Original Three-Storey Mill in 1868

The original mill was three storeys tall, the norm in the Victorian era, which is where the term ‘vertical’ originates. Dyed wools would begin at the top, working their way down floor by floor until the finished fabrics could be despatched via the newly built Leeds railway line.

By the turn of the 20th century it was all change with a larger, more practical, single storey mill being built in place of the original (unfortunately destroyed by fire). Even with all processes now taking place on one level, the term ‘vertical manufacturing’ had stuck and remains the industry term to this day.

There are seven main steps in this journey of craftsmanship.

Raw Wool to Finished Fabric

Starting with dyeing the raw wool, we continue through blending and carding until we finish with a single unique colour. These are then spun into yarns, greatly strengthening the fibre. After spinning, an intricate ‘warp’ is created in a precise order ready for the weaving of the fabric, which is where the final design first becomes apparent. Finally, the fabrics are run through our finishing department in order to clean and soften them.

The beauty of verticality means we don’t have to rely upon other companies to do our job for us. Quality control checks throughout production are carried out to our own high standards. Our methods have been developed over 175 years of in-house experience. We can keep fabric stock levels high so any demand can be met with relative ease.

Put simply, you can always count on Moon for supreme quality, consistency, and dependability.