1550s, "estate manager's office," from Middle French factorie (15c.), from Late Latin factorium "office for agents ('factors')," also "oil press, mill," from Latin factor "doer, maker," agent noun from past participle stem of facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). From 1580s as "establishment of merchants and factors in a foreign place." Sense of "building for making goods" is first attested 1610s. Factory farm attested from 1890.