MacAusland's Woollen Mills is one of the Island's oldest businesses.
The mill started as a sawmill and gristmill back in 1870.
The business was founded by Archibald MacAusland, who had to convince the locals he wasn't crazy for starting up a mill and wanting to weave blankets. Business operations were later assumed by Archibald's son, Fred MacAusland. The business is now the only mill in Atlantic Canada still producing traditional blankets of 100% virgin wool.
The original operation included a carding machine to convert raw fleece to batts which the mill sold by the roll for handspinning. The MacAuslands realized the woollen products were their best seller and in 1932 the mill produced its first blanket, now the staple of the operation.
Fred MacAuslands sons, Eddie and Reg, inherited the business. They handed it down to their sons, Harry and Allan. Harry's son, Dale, and Allan's son Alex still run the mill today, with Monica now learning the management ropes. Making it a fifth(and sixth) generation family business.
There haven't been a lot of changes over the decades. The mill suffered a major fire in 1949, with only one piece of equipment surviving, an extractor made of cast iron and a copper basket. Another major change was one in 1973, where the entire mill converted to electric motors to run the machines. The mill had, until then, operated by water turbines and diesel.
That isn't to say, though, with the fire and introduction of electricity, that the mill is operated by new machinery. A machine to wash the wool was purchased in the last few years to replace the conventional "oversized" washing machine they had been using. Built in 1949, the machine works better than the washing machines they had to continually replace.
The mill still uses old fashioned machinery to produce a top quality product woven with old fashioned charm.
The only mill in Atlantic Canada still producing traditional blankets of 100% virgin wool.