The History Of The UBC Millwright

The millwright craft dates back to 12th century Europe where water was directed over hand-constructed wooden mill wheels to turn big wooden gears and generate power. In the early 1700s North America, millwrights designed and constructed the water powered mills used to grind flour and grist. Before the mid-18th century, when steam-powered engines became the mainstream source of power generation, the American Millwright was the primary master craftsman in all forms of power engineering and construction.

This intricate knowledge of moving parts was essential for the engineering, design and construction of early bridges and canals. Throughout the Industrial Revolution, Millwrights fabricated manufacturing mills which brought America to the industrialized world. Today, the UBC Millwrights remain the most versatile and qualified craftsmen of any industrial mechanic, keenly focused on the latest demands in power production and motorized machinery.

Historically Significant Eastern Millwright Projects

The Wyman Dam

As the Great Depression gripped America, a 7 million dollar dam was being built by the Central Maine Power Company near Bingham, Maine bringing power and jobs to the area while changing the shape of the landscape and drawing industry to the locale.

The Wyman Dam at Bingham, would be the largest dam in the eastern United States, creating power and saving the paper and textile industry from losing it’s hold in the northeast to the larger mills of the South.

“The Silk City”

The city of Paterson, New Jersey was the first industrialized city in the nation. Millwrights engineered and crafted the water wheels which harnessed the power of the Great Falls of the Passaic River.

In the latter half of the 1800’s, silk production became the dominant industry and formed the basis of Paterson’s most prosperous period, earning it the nickname “Silk City.”

Industrial Growth Drives the Millwrights

In 1960, due to the changing technology and heavy industrial development in Upstate New York, Millwrights were charted their own Local Union separate from the Commercial Carpenters Local. The new local “Millwrights, Pile drivers, and Divers Local 1163” covered all the specialty work associated with Millwrighting, pile driving, and diving in the four counties surrounding Rochester, NY. The industrial push in the 1960’s led to installation and service to such companies as IBM, 3M, a newly developed Xerox Corp, and the film giant Kodak Inc., among many others, all looking for skilled craftsmen in the Rochester, NY area. This new local allowed the Millwrights to service these industries with the professionalism they strived to receive, closely monitor the training of new members and protect the trade jurisdiction.

Millwright Big Wooden Gears Wyman Dam Great Falls