Near the centre of the town of Cuorgnè, north of Turin, is a massive former cotton mill. The special feature of the multi-storey factory building is the vertical structure of the power transmission for driving the machines on the individual floors, which was probably used for the first time at the time. After it closed in 1991 it was bought by the municipality to be redeveloped. It is now occupied by CESMA, which is an archaeological museum, art gallery and conservation training service.
The factory was built in 1872-4, designed by Adolf Mauke of Naples for Swiss-German industrialists. They chose the area for their new cotton-spinning factory because of the existing textile industry and good water-power potential from the River Orco. It had a basement for the drive-shafts and four machine floors above. On top was a three-storey tower for a bell and a water tank in case of fire. In 1875 it was expanded with additional wings at the back to make a ‘u’-shaped plan. It employed 1,300 people. It was converted to electricity generated from its own turbines in 1885. Workers’ houses were built nearby with social facilities. The factory was further extended in 1939 and 1949.