Companhia de Fiação de Crestuma

Companhia de Fiação de Crestuma was a 19th century textile factory located on the banks of the Uíma River, Crestuma, Lever, Vila Nova de Gaia.
Born in the terrains of another industry, the textile factory soon became one of the most important of it’s sector in the region and a milestone to the textile sector of Vila Nova de Gaia.


Crestuma, From Iron and wine to thread – Origins

Industry activity by the Uíma River banks can be traced far back to the 18th century.

By the commissioning of the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro (⊕1756), the wicker and iron bows factory of Crestuma was founded in Crestuma ca. 1790.
Under direction of Manuel José das Neves, the company mainly produced iron artifacts for the winemaking industry (wine casks) and other small iron products directly from it’s foundry.

Technically highly evolved, it’s activity met a sudden halt with the political convulsions happening in that period, with the defeat of D.Miguel troops in the Siege of Porto (1832-1833), allegedly users of the factory infrastructure to weapons manufacturing purposes.

After the Siege, the region was trying to recover it’s industrial infrastructure and in 1836 the first Industrial association of Porto is founded and, according to the statutes declare, produce all kinds of metal products of iron and other metals and, with main facilities in the old Crestuma wicker and iron bows factory – now at sale.

The foundry project was never developed as the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro was recreated and the sale of the Crestuma terrains suspended. Later, financial instability and debts lead to a forced sale of those facilities in 1853. It is the start of Fábrica de Fiaçao de Crestuma, installed in the old factory grounds.

Foundation and Chronology 

The company is founded (in a consensual adopted date) in 1854 by the will of four businessmen namely :

Holder Share Quota
Visconde de Castro Silva 18,75%
Manuel Gualberto Soares 18,75%
António Ferreira Baltar 25,00%
António Ferreira Braga 37,50%
Total 100,00%

The statutes of the newly founded company were signed in 1857 although, numerous changes to the document were made until the final version published at last in the Government Journal in 26 June 1864.

By the next decade, a revision to the society’s statutory documents lead to the change of it’s name to Companhia de Fiação de Crestuma (limited liability company) in 1874.

In 1878, management structure had change and left in charge António Pereira de Loureiro, and, Augusto César da Cunha Morais (∗ Coimbra, 1852 – † 31 Jan 1939, Porto).

Augusto C.C. Morais, was an extraordinary industrialist and an important figure for the textile sector (and others too, worth to mention his plan for a railroad connection between Vila Nova de Gaia and Castelo de Paiva and a written manifest for suggested improvements to the Oporto City).

AC Morais brought newly developed processes to the industry, most of them adopted from his own ideas and inventions, and implemented in the factory.
In 1890, he starts his own textile business, in Crestuma, near the company where he had once been director.

Fábrica de Fitas e fiação de Algodão – AC. Cunha Morais, was a vertical company, operated with state of the art machinery (special reference to a gas powered loom, gold medal winner at the Exposição Agrícola-Industrial de Gaya – 1894), all due to the inventive character of it’s founder.

The AC. Cunha Morais company was in business until 2007, when it was declared bankrupt, 28 years after the bankruptcy of CFC. 

AC Cunha Morais – Special Images from the Fundo de Fotografia Alvão; Centro Português de Fotografia, reproduced here under agreement.