The water of the channels was not only used by the mills - other industries also benefitted from it, such as the dye makers or tanneries. As most of the dye makers were established in this part of the town, this stretch of the Rec Major was known as the “rec dels Tints".
El Tint is a 15th- or 16th-century unitary industrial building, where it has traditionally been considered that the clothing and woollen cloths produced in Banyoles were coloured. In the dyeing process, the fabrics were submerged in vats or cauldrons with the desired colouring and heated by direct flame. The pieces then had to be hung and stretched to obtain the desired dimensions. This process was normally carried out indoors, therefore the building needed to have high ceilings. On the other hand, the final drying was usually done outdoors.
In the 18th century, coinciding with the decline of the cloths business, the building was partitioned and converted into a tannery. It appears that this was when several vats were dug in the travertines, distributed on both sides of a central corridor, which would have been used to dye the hides.
> The dyer’s profession
Dyeing wool was no easy task. The dyers had to put up with bad smells and the presence of vapours. In addition, the water used in the dye polluted the channels. So it is no surprise that in the mediaeval era the dyers were disparagingly called “infectur”. The colourings in the dyes were of natural origin and could be prohibitively expensive. Most were obtained from plants, although they could also be extracted from minerals and, in some cases, insects and molluscs.
> Did you know that...
during the 1970s the El Tint building became a reference and meeting point of the city’s main artist groups?