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by Archaeology Newsroom

Textile factories in Edessa

The industrial produce of Northern Greece in the late 19th century was primitive. The national industry which was left unprotected by the Turkish government was soon flooded by Western industrial products that displaced local production and destroyed mountain handicraft centres.Cities quickly developed, functioning as agencies for the distribution of foreign products. The “privileges” and especially the Hatti-Hymayn (equal rights to Christians and Muslims) facilitated the accumulation of capital. In the cities the prevailing Greek and Jewish population were occupied with commerce and bank activities while at the same time trying to create a local and somehow integrated industrial production. The water-driven textile factories were part of this pursuit. They were founded in 1874-1912 by Greek businessmen from Naoussa in Central Macedonia and in the cities of Mount Vermion: Edessa, Naoussa and Veroia in particular. The successful organization of these factories was based on various factors such as exploitation of water, low wages, the rich local production of raw materials and last, but not least the fact that the textile industry did not demand any special technical education while a rich experience of home handicraft, producing thick woollen textiles, already preexisted. The textile industries in Edessa mirror industrial activity in the other cities of Vermion. Edessa (Vodena) during the period of Turkish occupation was at its prime functioning as a commercial and handicraft Centre. The first factories were built close to the area of the falls since the Turkish government would not allow the production and transfer of electricity away from the falls. The original machinery of the factories came from England. The production peak of these factories took place in the interval between the two World Wars. In 1954 the hydroelectric factory of the Public Enterprise of Electricity was installed near the river Agras, outside Edessa. Factories sold their rights over the water, therefore thus losing the possibility of free motion. Meanwhile the shareholders, descendants of the original owners, increased and this factor worsened the problems of the factories’ operation that urgently needed modernization in order to compete with the factories of Thessaloniki, Athens and Piraeus. As a result of these unhappy circumstances the factories started to decline and they finally, one by one, closed down from 1962 on. The textile factories in Edessa are: 1. Yarn factory of Gr. Tsitsis and Co (1895).

2. Factories “Εστία A.E.”, “Κάτω Εστία” (spinning mill, 1907), “Άνω Εστία” (spinning-weaving mill, 1926).

3. “Κανναβουργείο Α.Ε. Έδεσσα” (1908-1909). 4. Wool factory ΣΕΦΕ.ΚΟ A.E. (1929-1930) etc. Many silk factories also existed, like that of Apostolidis, Jatsos, Pigas, Outas and Themelis Bros., etc., almost none of which has survived.

The carpet factories were exceptionally successful founded by Greek refugees from Turkey like the brothers Kotzaivazoglou, Agapaloglou, Kokkinidies and others. Finally, quite productive were the cotton gin factories of Outa Bros, and J. Aslanoglou.