HIDDEN away in rural roads near Chard, a factory is using 200-year-old technology to supply parachutes to nearly every jet fighter on the planet.

Swisstulle operates out of Factory Road, South Chard, where the factory was first built in the 1800s.

Initially working with cottons, the business has slowly expanded its offering, and now develops hi-tech parachutes, bespoke wig nets and special thread made of silver.

Last week, the Swisstulle site was visited by Thorncombe Primary school pupils, who are currently studying the airforce and learning about parachutes.

The Perry Street Mill was built in 1825, and the company got its current name after a takeover in 1984 by Alfred Illi, a Swiss entrepreneur.

It operates 24 hours a day to keep productivity at a maximum.

In the modern day, the small firm supplies parachutes to every jet fighter in the world, except those owned by Russia and China.

They also provide hair nets with a special hexagonal weave that don’t stretch in an unnatural way when on people’s heads. The nets are shipped off to China, where the hair is knitted into each hole.

Recently, Swisstulle has moved in to creating military grade silver mesh which blocks radiowaves, and a silver nylon combination.

The advanced tech is also being used in live performances where artists and business can project there images onto a hanging net which cannot be seen by the audience until the lights are on it.

Thorncombe teacher Gareth Mee said: “It is a very unique opportunity for us. Our children were fascinated by the productions of the parachutes.

“Our curriculum and planning have some flexibility, and room for children follow their interests.

“I didn’t even know this place existed until I started looking it up. It is a little factory using 200-year-old machines and it is still the leading technology.

“It was amazing to see the intricacies of the machines and something which still can’t be replicated now.”