Among the historical places to visit in the village of Smithville, Ohio are the Community Historical Society compound, the Smithville Inn and Mishler Weaving Mill. These historic sites are fairly close together and it is possible to walk from one to the other; however you may wish to drive from Mishler Weaving Mill to the Community Historical Society compound and park there while you explore the Pioneer Village and then walk to the Smithville Inn for coffee and dessert or a satisfying meal.
Mishler Weaving Mill houses several antique mechanical weaving looms. You may watch as a dish cloth, table runner or place mat is being woven. There are hand looms on which rag rugs, rag placemats or dish towels may be being woven. The looms date from the mid to late 1800s and include a rocker beater barn beam loom.
The mill is staffed by and the weaving demonstrated by member-volunteers. This dedicated and talented group of volunteers is proud to share this bit of history with the visitors to the mill. They are able to demonstrate the operation of the looms as well as answer questions. Various woven items are for sale in the Gift Shop and include dish cloths, table runners and rag rugs.
The Mishler family immigrated to the United States in 1882 from Switzerland. The family located in Smithville a few years after arriving in Ohio. John D. Mishler began the weaving business which supplied the local residents with rag rugs which were woven on a hand loom. The business grew and the procurement of larger power-driven looms was realized. Power for the looms was supplied first by steam from a coal-fired boiler, later by kerosene and finally by electricity. These mechanical weaving looms allowed the production of dish cloths, washcloths, bath towels and cheese cloth.
John’s son, Daniel, purchased the weaving operation in 1930 and moved it to the present location. This family owned business supported the family and provided both employment and quality woven products to the local residents.
Weaving is an art. The products of the loom may be admired for there beauty as well as for the useful purpose they serve. Most children learn to weave on small square looms or with strips of paper. Hand looms serve to create strips of cloth which may be used in many ways such as belts or straps. Larger hand looms are used to create shawls, rugs, dish cloths or pieces of art such as wall hangings. The items produced at Mishler Mill are a combination of art, history and useful items.
Mishler Mill is now owned and operated by the Smithville Community Historical Society. The mill is open only on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30pm to 4:00pm year round. Special group tours may be arranged by contacting the Smithville Community Historical Society at 330-669-9308. Mishler Mill is located at 381 East Main Street, Smithville, Ohio 44677.