The factory called La Encartada at Balmaseda, 24 km south-west of Bilbao, was established in 1892. It continued in production for exactly a century, closing in 1992. Its principal product was always been the traditional Basque ‘boina’ (beret).
The factory, which opened as a museum in January 2007, has a complete and original range of machines for processing wool that originate in many parts of Europe. Raw wool was carded and lapped on machines made by Platt Bros of Oldham in 1892, spun into yarn on a 360-spindle self-acting mule supplied by Plat Bross in 1892, doubled and wound on machines of the 1890s by Platt Bros, knitted on frames made in Spain in the 1950s, and finished on a variety of equipment including a kind of fulling stock made by Hopewell of Baswell, Nottinghamshire in 1892 and a teasel gig made in 1895. Power was provided by a Francis-type turbine manufactured by J M Voith of Heidenheim, Germany, in 1904, transmitting power through line-shafting provided by the Manchester agents John M Sumner & Co in 1891-92. Surviving blanket-making equipment includes Jacquard looms made in Barcelona in 1907 and Chemnitz. La Encartada shows how entrepreneurs were able to integrate machines from many European countries into a single manufacturing process.
Nearby are several ranges of workers’ houses, some built at the same time as the factory.