The Continuous Paper Mill: the Molino de la Tuerta

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A renovated mill, in line with the new times

It supplied Manzanares El Real with cereal, but responding to new demands it was transformed to be a part of the Continuous Paper Mill.

The Continuous Paper Mill: the Molino de la Tuerta

The history and use of the Molino de la Tuerta (Mill of the One-eyed Woman) as a flour mill dates back at least to the beginning of the 18th century. Historical texts seem to indicate that it was named after its first owner, a woman from Colmenar whose distinctive trait in her eyes (blind in one eye), whether descriptive or as a grievance from her contemporaries, gave the name to the Mill ‘Molino de la Tuerta’ up to the present.

Of the seven mills in our municipality, the Molino de la Tuerta was the one that underwent the greatest modification to be transformed, back in 1837, as a place to manufacture pulp for the large complex of the first Continuous Paper Mill in Spain.

Its archaeological-industrial relevance makes it a specially protected site and an object of constant research.

A site of industrial archaeology

Discovering part of the business history of our municipality is one of our privileges.

The remains that can be seen today are part of a paper industry that was set up in Manzanares El Real in 1837. A family of papermakers from Alcoy bought the building of a Batán del Real Hospicio de Madrid, located next to the bridge over the Manzanares River, to transform it into the first factory in Spain of continuous reels of paper. This used to produce the new newspapers and gazettes that proliferated throughout the 19th century, as part of the development of the press and journalism in that century.

The peculiarity of this company is that it used several buildings inside and outside the village for the different stages of paper production and manufacturing process: two flour mills, the Molino de los Frailes o del Cura (Mill of the Friars or of the Priest) and the Molino de La Tuerta (Mill of the One-Eyed Woman), were acquired and transformed by Don Mariano Abad to be used for the manufacture of pulp; the equipment to manufacture the reels, imported from Belgium, was installed in the large building next to the Old Bridge, in the Calle Real (Royal Street), where there is currently a housing development that takes advantage of the strong base of the factory, of which we still have the remains. On the other side of the street, next to the Cortecero Stream, different buildings were used as support: the workers’ houses known as Chamberí, the warehouse, the forge, the coal cellar and, next to the river, the woodshed. In the square, opposite the Town Hall, the Parador was used as a drying shed and as accommodation for company staff.

Acordeón 1 fabrica de papel molieno de la tuerta

In the archaeological-industrial complex of Prado Puente there are the remains of the Molino de la Tuerta, one of the main heritage assets of our municipality that has been in the process of excavation and investigation since 2014. To date, we know that this small mill was in operation since at least the beginning of the seventeenth century, dedicated to the grinding of cereals with a stone moved by a waterfall in a canal. At the beginning of the 19th century it was modified and used to “defile” (fray) cloth and rags to create the pulp of paper pulp from them. The force of the waters of the Manzanares River were channeled through the Caz de Los Quiñones, which first moved the grinding stones and then the mallets and blades of the mill. The primitive stone channel was replaced by a large hydraulic wheel when the facility was expanded and, next to it, several buildings and structures were built: a space containing the piles to deposit the paste, with an open gallery on columns of granite of those that we still have the bases; an open space of which, for now, we do not know its function; the building of the press, characterized by a floor of granite slabs and the drainage and filtering well, through which the water was removed from the paper pulp; the Gas or Lejiadora building, a structure formed by six vaulted tanks divided by solid brick walls and granite slab floors, all plastered with hydraulic mortar, where the mixture of chemicals in its two granite piles produced the gases that they bleached the pasta. After this process, the paper pulp was transferred to the factory to make the sheets and reels.

The Caz de los Quiñones Channel, as old as the town itself, and the most important infrastructure in the life of the people of Manzanares, dates back at least to the 16th century. It was used for economic purposes such as the irrigation of orchards and meadows, the movement of hydraulic devices (mills, hammer mills, forges and dyers) and the water supply to inhabited areas. It consists of three parts: the water collection dam at the confluence of the River Manzanares with the Cañada de los Toros (Glen of the Bulls), the distribution through canals made of granite masonry and the different branches that irrigated the orchards on this bank of the river as far as the Prado Puente area. Here, it served as the motive force for the Molino de la Tuerta; then, the waters continued flowing to the old Batán del Real Hospicio de Madrid and a branch supplied water to the communal washing place next to the Old Bridge. The unused water continued its course and irrigated other orchards and meadows in the southern area of the town. Then the water got out from the Molino de la Tuerta through the Caz de Los Quiñones Channel, a spectacular stone construction two metres wide, paved with granite.

The industrial crisis at the end of the 19th century and the project of the Marquis of Santillana to build the Santillana Dam and a waterfall to supply water and electricity for the new neighbourhoods in the northern region of Madrid, led to the end of this industry at the beginning of the 20th century.

Acordeón 2 fabrica de papel molieno de la tuerta

In pictures

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