REGARDING SAWTOOTH ROOF MILLS
The Imagen Textile Mill
Maehara 20th (Car Museum)
|Sawtooth roofs are believed to have appeared first in English spinning mills during the Industrial Revolution. In the transition from hand production to large-scale manufacturing, factories grew larger. Changing management styles also required increasingly larger factories.
The Nippon Textile Corporation was constructed in Kiryu in 1889, in the vicinity of the present-day Kiryu Kosei Hospital and Kiryu City Hall. Constructed of brick, this large-scale sawtooth roof mill, were it still existent, would be one of the oldest large-scale sawtooth roof factories in Japan.
Later, the Nippon Kennen Corporation and Ryomo Textile Corporation, both
large-scale mills, were constructed with sawtooth roofs. In fact, this
style of architecture was adopted by nearly all of the textile mills in
As of 2002, there were some 260 sawtooth roof structures still remaining
in Kiryu. They are or were chiefly weaving mills, symbolic of the city
of Kiryu. Construction materials include: brick (1 building); stone (9
buildings); reinforced concrete (1 building); with the remaining all of
There are few large-scale mills remaining. Most of the mills have only 2 or 3 segments (each point of the sawtooth roof counting as one segment).
The majority of sawtooth roof mills in Kiryu were constructed between 1926
and 1955. After 1965, the number built decreased dramatically. This decrease
resulted from new architectural technology and progress and developments
in electricity obviating the need for large floor areas and sawtooth roofs.
In addition, the sharply angled V areas on the roofs were frequently subject
to leakage. This, combined with the slump in textile production and other
occupational changes, were all contributing factors to the demise of the
There are still many sawtooth roof buildings in Kiryu, however, as the
textile industry continues to decline and the buildings age, the number
is slowly decreasing.
For these reasons, the city is actively encouraging the renovation of sawtooth
roof buildings by promoting their use as shops, studios, museums, beauty
salons, kindergartens, etc.