1130 Weiss St.
Frankenmuth Michigan 48734United States
Self-guided tours are encouraged at this working wool-processing and yarn-making facility where comforters are still hand-sewn the old-fashioned way.
Celebrating its 100th year in business, Zeilinger Wool Company has been processing wool from sheep, goats, rabbits, llamas and even dogs since 1910. The "tour" of the small building is self-guided and starts in the room behind the factory store where bags of raw wool sit waiting to be processed. Although people are at work, they pay little attention as you watch them ply their trade. Up wooden stairs to the second floor (the building is not handicapped accessible) is a manufacturing room where socks are made. Just off this area is a large, sunny room where women are hand-sewing bed comforters and mattress pads. The ladies are more than willing to talk about their work, clearly taking pride in the quality of the products they make. Many of the items made here are for sale in the factory store, including those hand-sewn comforters and mattress pads ($350-$400 for a queen-size mattress pad), wool socks ($25 per pair), slippers, scarves, mittens and fabric. The tour of the yarn-making facility, in a separate building, can be more in-depth, depending on whether the gentleman who oversees the operation is there. He admitted he gets few independent visitors (they do welcome an occasional tour bus group) and is only too happy to talk at length about the vintage machinery he rebuilt and demonstrate how everything works. If you've always wanted to see how fabric and yarn is made, this will be right up your alley.