Small workshops made woollen yarn in the central Pyrenees from the mid-19th century. Customers brought wool and took away finished yarn for knitting or weaving. The factory at Vielha is typical – a very small stone building on the bank of the River Nere at the edge of the town. It was built by Josep Portolés Viló, who had learned the wool trade on the French side of the border, 60km away. It opened in the late 19th century and closed in the 1960s. The local authority preserved it in 1999. The factory was powered by a waterwheel, which was connected to machines by belt drives. Later, it operated by electricity after the waterpower system was destroyed by floods. The original machinery remains. Downstairs are weighing scales for the wool, two carding machines and a combing machine. Upstairs in the attic are a spinning mule, a twister and a machine to prepare skeins of yarn for customers.