“Raising teasels was the means of bringing wealth to the owners of the farm. Fifty years ago (c.1880), Mr. Watson happening to meet the late Elisha Marsh in Winsted, declared that he believed a man could still make money raising teasels as no machine then had been invented that would do the work so well. Few people know living remember how the sloping fields north of the state highway in the long hill section used to look when the lavender teasel plants were in full bloom.”

These fields were located in section between Ramstein Road and Cotton Hill.  This area, now trees was, in the 1800’s, open fields.  Once dried, the plants were used at the Bakerville fulling mill belonged to Daniel Lyman. It may have been located at the Cedar Lane bridge over the Nepaug.  Another fulling mill that used the teasel raised in New Hartford was located in the Poverty Hollow section of Harwinton.

Teasel had been used for millenia as a way to clean and align the nap on wool once it had been fulled.  This process created a finer, smoother cloth.  However, in the 1800’s steel carding brushes came into use.  In addition to greater uniformity, the metal did not wear out as quickly.  Teasel, once a common plant, faded into obscurity.  However, Mr. Watson was not entirely wrong.  Some handweavers, especially those working with very fine wools, still use teasel, because the plant will break before the wool if there is a hard object caught in the fibers.


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