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A factory in which woven fabrics are manufactured. Many early mills were located near a source of water power for operating the machinery; most were of timber construction and in constant danger of being consumed by fire. In 1832, a significant advance in fire safety occurred with the construction of a mill in Rhode Island that was especially designed to resist fire (and to burn slowly if ignited) by using thick floor planking, by minimizing the number of timber beams, and by maximizing the cross-sectional area of each beam. These design criteria, widely applied, greatly improved fire safety in the mills.