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cotton mill / Cordenons / 1902 - 1989 / 2009


This majestic cotton mill was founded in 1902 by a group of entrepreneurs guided by Guglielmo Raetz, with the purpose to process a special Egyptian cotton called Makò. Being the first of its kind in Italy, Filatura Makò gained success from the very beginning. About 300 women were employed at the time, while cotton was exported even to China and Japan. Moreover, the cotton mill was a most modern one, in particular regarding the safeness of working environment. For example, the power transmission was organized underfloor instead of having (dangerous) belts over the head, while the lighting was provided by 50 arc lamps reflecting their light on the white ceiling instead of having direct flames at eye level. As soon as the first five years of activity were gone, the cotton mill was enlarged and a residential village was created nearby. Before the First World War the factory was equipped with 82448 spindles (61712 for spinning and 20736 for winding). The yearly capacity of 350 t of cotton was ensured by more than 1000 employees.



In early 1920s the activity of the cotton mill raised the interest of Pirelli, a renowned Italian rubber and tyre manufacturer. This acquired the the majority share of Filatura Makò in 1924, and improved the factory with finishing facilities such as bleaching, starching and dyeing. At the threshold of the Second World War Pirelli replaced cotton yarns with viscose rayon cord, made in a brand new factory directly owned by the company. Therefore, the cotton mill was sold in 1939 to Cotonificio Cantoni, a major cotton manufacturer at the time. During the following decades the Cordenons cotton mill represented a key-site within Cantoni, together with the historical mills of Legnano, Castellanza and Bellano. In 1970 the 90572 spindles of this plant represented the 43% of the total Cantoni spinning capacity. However, financial troubles at Cotonificio Cantoni emerged in early 1980s, leading to the company takeover by Inghirami group. This one intended to get rid of outdated sites. The former Makò cotton mill was closed in 1989, being one of the last within former Cantoni to cease production.











Croatto, G., Valcovich, E. (1994), Architetture industriali del settore tessile in Friuli fra Ottocento e Novecento, Aviani, Udine.



Rare correspondence between the cotton mill owner (Cotonificio Cantoni) and the War Ministry, dating back to 1940-41. The company asked the Ministry to discharge Mr. Gian Girolamo Triulzi, a key-figure for the mill (technical director), which was enlisted in the Royal Air Force as lieutenant. These sheets and others have been recovered from an abandoned office room of the factory.

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