Manville Jenckes Company

also known as Jenckes Spinning Company, New England Paper Tube, Conrad Manufacturing

A large two- and three-story mill complex bordered by Conant, Pine, Barton, and Weeden Streets

About this Property

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This large complex is mixed light industrial and storage along with nearby Easton Burnham Machine/ (now razed), which was proposed to be mixed live/work studio space. 297 Barton Street is now light industrial, and 195 Weeden Street, the old powerhouse (center of photo #3), is also light industrial.


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From the Pawtucket Mill Building survey, prepared by the Preservation Society of Pawtucket, 1990, reprinted 1995

The former Manville Jenckes Company mills (NE Paper Tube) is a tightly packed group of 4-story brick mills and two 2-story weave sheds. Construction was begun on the site in the 1880s, and the last mill was built in 1919.

Conrad Manufacturing used to occupy the simple two story sawtooth weave shed. The sawtooth design allowed the most natural light onto the floor. The brick work has been repaired and most of the mortar looks new. On the second floor beneath the sawtooth roof are a set of new windows, very nice arched stationary sets with two 4 over 4 sliding windows. The round windows along each point of the sawtooth have also been repaired or replaced.

From the RIHPHC’s survey of Providence Industrial Sites, July 1981

This complex of 4-story brick mills and 1-story weave sheds, located between Conant and Barton Streets in Pawtucket, was once part of the Manville Jenckes Company. The company’s founder, Nathan Hicks, began producing ring travelers (the c-shaped metal clips which replaced the flyer arms in the change from throstle to ring spinning) in 1854 in the Old Slater Mill. About 1870, he was joined by Edwin and Joseph Jenckes of Woonsocket, and during the 1880s, construction began at the present site — the mills facing Barton Street were built about 1900.

The oldest section, built gable end to the street, housed the Jenckes Knitting Machine Company, separately incorporated in 1903. Between 1916 and 1919, the company built the 4-story, brick-pier mill facing Conant Street. Designed to contain 53,000 spindles for the production of tire fabric, the mill was formally controlled by the Tamarack Company, a firm which was simply a part of the expanding Jenckes Company. In 1923, the Jenckes Spinning Company merged with the large Manville Company to become Manville Jenckes. By 1930, the firm controlled the mills in Pawtucket as well as mills in Manville and Woonsocket (the Social, Nourse, Harrison, and Globe Mills), and Georgiaville, Rhode Island. The firm’s Southern holdings included the famous Loray Mill of Gastonia, North Carolina, scene of a bloody and bitter strike in 1929.

Besides tire fabric and knitting machines, Manville Jenckes produced knitting yarn, hosiery, and silk, cotton, and synthetic cloth. Later taken over briefly by Textron, the Pawtucket mills are now divided among numerous tenants, some of whom are still involved in textiles.