Cloths Dye-house

This room was the noblest space of the dye-house where several types of cloths were dyed in the most varied colours.

The musealisation of this room emphasises the historic significance of wool manufacture in Covilhã and it clarifies some operations in the making of cloths, such as carding, spinning, weaving and dyeing.

Some instruments related to the spinning and the weaving are exhibited, seeking to rebuild through them the domestic and manufacturing atmosphere, as the original space of the Museum was a factory, lived in the course of time not only in Covilhã but also in a majority of places of the region.

Reproduction of the Gobelins’ dye-house (Paris)

Picture, taken from  Encyclopédie de Diderot et d'Alembert, 18th century, which shows us as this area might have worked.

Planned as a manufacture, the Royal Textile Factory had as a model the Gobelins’ dye-house.

In this area, bounded by an iron railing, are preserved the granite structures for the copper boilers, used for dyeing in boiling water the wool cloths, after having left the looms.

Plain loom, also known as wood loom because it was made of wood. It was intended to be worked preferably by men.

The cloths were obtained by crossing the warp yarns with the weft yarns conducted by a weaving shuttle.

Pedal spinning-wheel

An instrument used mainly by women. It was used to stretch the carded wool and to make the thread that later would be used in the looms.

Small winding frame with a tripod bench probably used by children that filled the pirns for the loom weaving shuttles.

In the Royal Textile Factory, there was an in-house regime for orphans and abandoned children that learned a craft here.

In the Cloths dye-house two granite furnaces can be found, fed through the existing openings in the Corridors for the wood, which was put under the copper boilers by the a man who was responsible for that. It allowed the boiling dyeing, that varied between the 95º and 100º degrees. This temperature should be maintained constant. Here the cloths were dyed on blue, process that required a higher temperature. On the wall, next to these two furnaces, there is a picture that represents the dyeing of cloths with the help of a reel which allowed the cloths to be vertically dived in the bath, with the help of a wooden rake (a long stick that immerged the cloths and they were used to stir the bath in order to keep the mixture homogeneous). On the wall, there are two holes, one for the reel mortise and the other corresponds to a granite gutter pipe entry that made the water transportation.

General aspect of the Cloths dye-house divided into two perfect curve arches. Besides the looms exposed in this wing of the room, there are a manual rack card used to open the wool (this object allowed the person who was responsible for this work to be seated) and a pedal spinning wheel that transformed the wool fuse into yarn. This one, not very resistant yet, passed to the manual winding frame where the yarn acquired more resistance. It was essentially a work made by children who were in an in-house regime in this manufacture.

In several showcases, there are objects exhibited that are related to the manufacturing activity, from manual cards and vegetables to the factory sun clock, painted pottery, ceramics, plaster, pieces of pombaline glazed tile, brick (clay bricks burned resistant to high temperatures) and exemplars of tiles typically Portuguese, from the building covering.