1550s, "estate manager's office," from 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 is attested from 1890.