The word "Millwright" has long been used to describe the man who was marked by everything ingenious and skillful. For several centuries in England and Scotland the millwright was recognized as a man with knowledge of carpentry, blacksmithing and lathe work in addition to the fitter and erector. Thus, the millwright of the last several centuries was an itinerant engineer and mechanic of high reputation and recognized abilities. The millwright was a fair arithmetician, knew something of geometry, leveling and measurements, and often possessed a very competent knowledge of practical mathematics.

He could calculate the velocities, strength and power of machines; could draw in plans, construct buildings, conduits or watercourses, in all the forms and under all the conditions required in his professional practice. In the early days of North America millwrights designed and constructed the mills where flour and grist were ground by water power. Water was directed over hand-constructed wooden mill wheels to turn big wooden gears and generate power. Millwrights executed every type of engineering operation in the construction of these mills. As early as 1876, the millwrights of Toronto, Canada formed unions of their craft. After The Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) had been formed and had chartered a local union in Toronto, these millwrights made known their desire to affiliate with the Brotherhood. In 1884, they were admitted to the Local Union there.

On May 24th 1960, due to the changing technology and heavy industrial development in Upstate New York, Millwrights were charted their own Local Union separate from the Commercial Carpenters Local. This allowed the Millwrights trade to closely monitor the training of new members and protect the trade jurisdiction.