FULLING MILL FENEŞ, 19th century, Alba county
Threaded on the mountain river courses, the fulling mills are folk installations used for thickening and finishing the wool fabrics. They appeared and developed in favourable environments with a rich hydrographical network, with constant river flows, in hilly landscapes with abundant vegetation (beech and coniferous trees) in which specific occupations were preponderant, such as animal husbandry. From such an area, famous for its hydraulic installations, from Valea Ampoiului, the fulling mill from Feneș was transferred in the museum in the year 1965. The specialization level reached here is reflected also by the local toponymy, one of the Ampoi river tributary being suggestively called Vâltori (vortexes) – the Romanian term used also for the folk installation.
The mechanism in sheltered in a building raised on a stone foundation, with walls made of rectangular carved wood beams and river stones, while the hipped roof has a shingle covering (initially made of manually harvested straws). The fabrics were inserted in a carved tree trunk (the pot) where they were fulled with the two pairs of hammers driven by the hydraulic wheel through the camshaft. The cams lifted the hammers that subsequently fell due to gravity and stroke the fabric that was doused in warm and cold water, alternatively. The lower parts of the hammers are increasingly crested, so the fabric is equally pounded on all its length and width. After the fulling process, the fabric becomes thicker and matted, becoming felt, from which thick clothes were made (felted overcoats, tight winter trousers, vests, etc.).