Image of the Lymansville Mills located in North Providence, Rhode Island.
Auguste Albert Sack was born in Hansfelde,ix Germany, in 1843. As a young man he completed four years of professional schooling that included training in the worsted and woolen trades. In 1867 at the age of twenty five he emigrated to the United States. His first employment in this country was as a designer for the Edward Harris Woolen Company in Woonsocket. By the early 1870s he had served in the same capacity at the Everett Mills (Lawrence, MA), and the Bates Mills (Lewiston, ME). His first supervisory position was with the Boston commission house, Leland, Allen and Bates, where he oversaw the woolen mills owned by this company.
He relocated to North Providence in 1873 to become superintendent of the worsted operation run by Owen and Clark in the Geneva Mill, which they leased from Charles Heaton and Martin Cowing. Sack remained with Owen and Clark until he purchased the Geneva Mill from Heaton and Cowing in 1879. He managed the operation of the Geneva Worsted Mill until 1884 at which time he and partners George L. Davis and John A. Brown purchased the Lymansville Mill estate, which included a substantial mill privilege and a modest-sized mill village on the Woonasquatucket River.
This privilege and cotton mill had been in the Lyman family since 1809 until it was sold to textile entrepreneurs F.R. and H.C. Whitexiv in 1877. Sack and his partners, who incorporated as the Lymansville Company in early 1884, purchased the plant and 40 acres of land from the Whites. In 1884, Sack supervised the construction of a modern worsted plant that included a brick, three-story, pier and spandrel, 80’ x 80’ main building with an external stair tower (Mill No. 1). This building housed the combing and drawing operations on the first floor as well as the company offices. The second floor had the carding operations and the third floor, spinning. The building was sited so that its headrace entered the mill perpendicularly on the west elevation where it powered two turbines producing 100 horsepower in the basement wheelhouse. The tailrace exited through an arch on the east elevation and returned water to the river about 600’ east of the building. Sack chose not to finish the north wall of Mill No. 1 in brick, but, rather, to use wood framing and clapboard to facilitate expansion in the near future. Attached to the south elevation of Mill No. 1 was a 135’ x 80’, singlestory Weave House (Building No. 3) housing approximately 30 looms. Similar to the construction of Mill No. 1, this building had three brick sides and a frame south wall to allow easier expansion. The final building of the original plant was a 40’ x 65’ Boiler/Engine House (Building No. 2) sited parallel to the headrace and attached to Mill No. 1. The mill was in operation by November 1884. In 1885, the first full year of operation, the company produced 170,000 pounds of yarn and 150,000 yards of cloth. By 1901, employing some 400 operatives, this annual product had increased to 1,200,000 pounds of yarn and one million yards of cloth valued at more than $1,000,000.
Within a few years of setting up operations, Sack had established salesrooms in New York and seven other cities to sell worsted goods direct to the garment manufacturers, rather than through agents. Late 19th-century sources described the Lymansville Company as “…the only establishment in the country that sells and delivers goods direct from the factory to the consumer.”Source: National Register of Historic Places Registration Form- Lymansville Company Mill