Cole & Son Factory Tour

Cole & Son, a London-based wallpaper manufacturer established in 1875, recently launched its collection of autumn wallpapers, including a particularly striking harlequin pattern of overlain colors called "Circus" that proves the 136-year-old company can do modern with as much depth as the historical. These papers are manufactured—"manu," by hand, being the operative root—barely north of central London in Haringey, where the tiny Cole & Son factory rolls out a quarter of a million meters of high-end wallcoverings per year. On the ground floor of the two-floor warehouse, a 130-year old machine sits beside a shinier digital printer of a mere 30 years. Though they don’t look old enough, some workers have been there for decades and have children working there too. “It’s like anything you do,” says a screen printer named Jason who has been mastering his craft for 25 years. “You just get used to it and then it’s easy.”

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