Excerpt from the video documentary Filon textile
Video editing: Marc Lamontagne
Documentary filmmaker: Stéphanie Lessard-Bérubé
Camera: Alex Chabot
Photography: Steve Pellerin
Art direction: Suzanne Morin
Production: Musée Bruck
Durée: 2:49 minutes
In response to a call to the community, former factory workers gather at the Bruck Museum for a convivial reunion. As part of a memory collection project, portraits and video interviews are conducted and several citizens donate photos and objects related to their employment at the plant. Many copies of the employee newspaper Entre-Nous are collected as they were carefully preserved by the former workers. This video clip gathers brief excerpts of their testimonials.
Suzanne Morin, Director of the Bruck Museum, speaks to former Bruck Mills employees at a reunion event at the Bruck Museum.
If you look up in the lobby toward the second floor, you will see a framed artifact that is at the back. This was the first yard of silk woven in Canada in 1922 by Bruck Mills.
(Video sequence of the Museum lobby and the imposing dark wood staircase. Close-up of the canvas hanging on the wall and on the plaque with the inscription “First Yard of Silk made in Canada – Produced by Bruck Silk Mills Ltd – on July 21,1922”)
(Video sequence of about thirty former employees gathered in a large room of the Bruck Museum, talking to each other. Some fill out information sheets and others flip through photo albums left on tables facing the buffet that will be served.)
(Video sequence of the poster at the Museum’s front door announcing the call to the community and the reunion of former Bruck Mills workers)
(Back to Suzanne Morin addressing the guests in the room)
I want to thank you all for coming today. We are currently doing a memory collection project. I know how important Bruck Mills has been to the city here, not just economically, but socially and culturally.
(Video sequence of employees being photographed in another room transformed into a studio by the photographer who invites them to sit in turn, for a brief shooting)
(Images of a group of young women in front of Bruck Mills circa 1950s and a photograph of a section of the buildings showing the fabric store and a parking lot filled with cars from the early 1960s)
(Photograph of Santa in his sleigh on a float in a parade that also includes a Bruck factory truck, followed by images of Bruck Fabric News magazine covers featuring clothing reflecting 1940s fashion)
(Back to Suzanne Morin addressing the guests in the room)
Today’s meeting is to reconnect with the people, for people to meet with each other, for them to tell us who they are, when they worked, what exactly they did at the Bruck.
(Video sequence of guests chatting and reminiscing while looking at photographs)
(Suzanne Morin in voice-over)
We would also like to know if there are know-how that have disappeared, and we are very interested in your stories, your memories.
(Video sequence of a guest who brought his Bruck Mills employee card with his photo at the time.)
(Filmed sequence of an industrial loom operated by a female factory worker.)
(Video sequence from an interview with Regina Lapointe, a lively centenarian who was employed at Bruck from 1947 to 1967. She is interviewed at her home with her niece, who is also a former employee.)
In ’47, do you have any idea what we were paid? That’s why we were working long hours! (she says laughing).
(Video sequence, a guest reads a copy of the factory employees’ newspaper “Entre-Nous”)
(Video sequence, excerpt from interview with Henriette Leduc Enright, niece of Regina Lapointe and employee at Bruck from 1948 to 1998. She is sitting at the kitchen table at her aunt’s house holding a wooden shuttle.)
I kept one for myself, just as a souvenir. That’s how it was when my dad was there. It was these types of looms. After that, it was quite different because the shuttle moved by itself, it filled itself.
(Filmed sequence of a worker in front of an operating loom and movements of the shuttle)
(Video sequence, extract from the interview of Jean-Nil Gince, employee at the plant from 1956 to 2000, interviewed at the Bruck Museum)
When I first went there, I was 19 years old, in ‘56. I was there; well I was there for… I quit in 2000. We made camouflage fabric for hunting.
(Video sequence of someone sorting through old photos of machinery in the factory, brought in by a guest. These images are followed by black and white photos of large spools of thread.)
(Video sequence of Rita Deslandes, employee from 1943 to 1968, sitting next to Marjorie Provencher Deshaies)
There are skeins of wool nowadays, but back then they were of silk or cotton. After that, it was reeled onto spools, which were then sent to the spinners.
(Filmed sequence of silk threads on spools that unwind on a spinner. An operator is seen in front of a large reel around which the thread is wound as it is unwound from the spool.)
(Video sequence of Marjorie Provencher Deshaies, employee from 1947 to 1967, sitting next to Rita Deslandes)
On the spinners there were big racks. We were carrying those big racks, we placing them at arm’s length. We were working hard, 45 pounds, at arm’s length!
Back to Rita Deslandes
45 pounds, at arm’s length!
(Video sequence, excerpt from interview with Gilles Gagné, employee from 1967 to 2000, interviewed at the Bruck Museum, first in voice-over on images of a piece of red fabric with the inscription “A Bruck Fabric” on the edge.)
I was a mechanic, a weaver, I was an account setter, also a part remover.
(Video sequence, excerpt from interview with Dosko Milimonka, employee from 1951 to 1987, interviewed at the Bruck Museum.)
Thirteen years, thirteen hours, the night shift. After that, you know, I was probably a good worker, they choose me for a foreman.
(Video sequence of former workers at the table, as Mr. Milimonka walks toward the room where the buffet is served. He is accompanied by his daughter.)
(Video sequence, exerpt from the interview with Marcelle Cardinal, employed at the Bruck for 6 years as a drafter)
After seeing all my drawings and paintings, they hired me right away as a drafter, but in those days it was called “engraving”, with a big iron pencil, made of steel, we engraved with it on plates.
(Video sequence of a worker in front of a huge roll of fabric with large foliage patterns printed from a metal cylinder on which the patterns are etched, similar to an offset printing press.)
(Video sequence, excerpt from the interview with Yvette Choinière, Bruck employee from 1963-1964)
My fondest memories of the factory are of course the fabrics, the colours, the scents, everything we did, the texture, the rolls.
(Filmed sequence of threads stretched on a jacquard loom, followed by footage of a worker examining a printed fabric running vertically)
(Return on Henriette Leduc Enright)
I knew Gerald Bruck. Yes, he often made his rounds in the factory. Yes, I liked it. I spent my life there. I guess I liked it!
(Photograph of a mural panel titled “La Bruck Mills au fil du temps/The Bruck Mills over time”, composed of archival photos, captions and dates that form an illustrated timeline. As its subtitle indicates, the mural traces the factory stories, the life stories and the artists’ stories that the Museum preserves for future generations.