Plymouth Cordage Company Ropewalk (1824)

July 11th, 2017 Posted in Industrial, Mystic, Stonington, Vernacular

Preserved at Mystic Seaport is a section of the original ropewalk of the Plymouth Cordage Company of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1824 by Bourne Spooner, who had learned the art of ropemaking in New Orleans. He opposed slavery, so he set up his business back home in Plymouth, hiring free labor. Spooner ran the company until his death in 1870, producing rope for many kinds of vessels, including the Great Republic, the largest clipper ship ever built. By the late nineteenth century, the company had become the largest manufacturer of rope and twine in the world. The company remained in business for 140 years. The ropewalk remained in operation until 1947, when changing technology led to the end of its use by the company. In 1951, a 250-foot section of the 1,000-foot ropewalk in Plymouth was saved and reassembled at Mystic Seaport. It came with its machinery, which is no longer powered but is set up as though it were still functioning in order to illustrate the process of spinning rope.

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