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“Premier Silk Mills” becomes Bruck Silk Mills

Black and white portrait of young man (Isaac Bruck), in suit and tie.

Isaac Ignace Bruck, 1930

From New York to Cowansville
In the early 1920s, Cowansville is a small industrial and commercial centre of about 1,000 people, served by the railway line between Montréal and New England. At the time, the influential national power company, Southern Canada Power, invites manufacturers to settle in the region, which benefits from the resources of the Yamaska River. Ron Schwarz, Southern Canada Power’s representative, convinces American businessman Isaac Ignace Bruck of the local economic potential. Isaac Bruck made his mark in the textile industry in New York City, having emigrated from Poland in 1904. In 1921, he founds the head office of Premier Silk Mills Limited in Montréal and opens the first silk mill in Cowansville in 1922. He entrusts Leopold S. Lee with the management of the plant, which has 14 mills and about 30 workers.

Black and white photo of the buildings of the Bruck Silk Mills around 1925 and, in the foreground, a railway and wagons.

The first Bruck Silk Mills building, circa 1939

The right thread for the industry and local economy
The mill, which quickly changes its name to Bruck Silk Mills Limited in 1924, soon becomes a leader in the silk industry and a pillar of the local economy. Thanks to its use of modern technologies, it is the first to consolidate all its production operations in one location.

Cowansville and Bruck Mills. Discover the video with the transcript (EN).

The raw materials (raw silk imported from Japan, artificial silk from Holland, wool and cotton from Canada and the United States) are all spun on-site and then woven. The produced fabrics are also dyed, printed, and finished in the Cowansville plant before they are delivered to customers. Bruck Silk Mills proves to be a true pioneer in the silk industry. Its order book grows rapidly, despite the ups and downs of the global economy.

Newspaper ad in English for employee recruitment.

Newspaper advertisement for recruitment at the Cowansville plant, circa 1930

Black and white photo showing 38 employees of Bruck Silk Mills wearing typical 1920s clothing

The first Bruck Silk Mills’ employees, circa 1923