Sail making was an essential trade in Catalonia and Masnou is a good example of this work.
Since 1841, Josep Sensat’s factory worked spinning, weaving and producing cloth for ships. Vapor Sensat was one of the first factories in Catalonia to install a steam machine, but in 1883, due to the decline in the use of sailboats, the company was absorbed by its main competitor, Fàbrica Estapé, owned by Pau Estapé i Maristany, and founded by his father Gerard Estapé around 1851. The building was nicknamed Can Xala at this time.
After this transaction, Fàbrica Estapé controlled the entire production chain for sail manufacturing, from the raw cotton to the end finished textiles. Its owner Pau Estapé i Maristany expanded the product range to confront the crisis to include commercial sails, wax-coated fabrics, tents for the army, covers for carriages and even canvas transmission belts.
Starting at the beginning of the 20th century, it would change hands several times: La Indústria Lonera, Ballvé and HILMA, until shutting its doors for good at the end of the 20th century.
Can Xala's main competitor was Indústria Lonera Maristany y Hermanos, known as Cal Soberano in memory of its sailboats, owned by the Gerard brothers, Jaume and Pere Maristany i Alsina, which was active from 1877 until the 1970s.
The industrial complex has undergone different phases of construction and expansion in its 150 years of history. Three industrial warehouses are still present today, as well as a chimney (one of the two it formerly had), other outbuildings and the workers’ housing.
Carrer de Lluís Millet, s/n
Foto 1.Fotografia actual can Xala. Núria Duran. Fons documental: Museu Municipal de Nàutica del Masnou.
Foto 2. Fotografia actual can Xala. Núria Duran. Fons documental: Museu Municipal de Nàutica del Masnou.
Foto 3.Recreació històrica en 3D. Josep R. Casals. Fons documental: Museu Municipal de Nàutica del Masnou.
Foto 4.Interior de can Xala, inicis s. XX. Desconegut. Fons documental: Arxiu Històric Municipal del Masnou.