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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 the area.

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 wood construction.

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 sawtooth roof.

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.


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