A Look at What Remains of Redding’s Historic Gilbert + Bennett Wire Mill
This is the story of Benjamin Gilbert, born in 1788, who learned the trades of a tanner, currier, and shoemaker in his youth. Then, shortly after the birth of his daughter Charlotte in 1812, he went into business for himself.
Gilbert soon gave up his tannery business to build horsehair sieves and set up shop in the basement of his home, recruiting his wife and daughters who wove the horsehair while he shaved wooden hoops to form the rims of his sieves.
How Benjamin Gilbert built his Redding business with his sons and brothers is a fascinating success story. But how did the Gilberts go from woven horse hair to a mammoth manufacturing facility that produced specialized wire?