Loom

Loom

Overview


A loom is a device used to weave
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp
Warp (weaving)
In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Warp means "that which is thrown...

 threads under tension
Tension (mechanics)
In physics, tension is the magnitude of the pulling force exerted by a string, cable, chain, or similar object on another object. It is the opposite of compression. As tension is the magnitude of a force, it is measured in newtons and is always measured parallel to the string on which it applies...

 to facilitate the interweaving of the weft
Weft
In weaving, weft or woof is the yarn which is drawn through the warp yarns to create cloth. In North America, it is sometimes referred to as the "fill" or the "filling yarn"....

 threads. The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics may vary, but the basic function is the same.

The word "loom" comes from the Old English "geloma" formed from ge-(perfective prefix) and loma, a root of unknown origin; this meant utensil or tool of any kind.
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A loom is a device used to weave
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp
Warp (weaving)
In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Warp means "that which is thrown...

 threads under tension
Tension (mechanics)
In physics, tension is the magnitude of the pulling force exerted by a string, cable, chain, or similar object on another object. It is the opposite of compression. As tension is the magnitude of a force, it is measured in newtons and is always measured parallel to the string on which it applies...

 to facilitate the interweaving of the weft
Weft
In weaving, weft or woof is the yarn which is drawn through the warp yarns to create cloth. In North America, it is sometimes referred to as the "fill" or the "filling yarn"....

 threads. The precise shape of the loom and its mechanics may vary, but the basic function is the same.

Etymology


The word "loom" comes from the Old English "geloma" formed from ge-(perfective prefix) and loma, a root of unknown origin; this meant utensil or tool of any kind. In 1404 it was used to mean a machine to enable weaving thread into cloth. By 1838 it had gained the meaning of a machine for interlacing thread as in weaving, knitting or lacemaking.

Weaving


Weaving is done by intersecting the longitudinal threads, the warp
Warp (weaving)
In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Warp means "that which is thrown...

, i.e. "that which is thrown across", with the transverse threads, the weft
Weft
In weaving, weft or woof is the yarn which is drawn through the warp yarns to create cloth. In North America, it is sometimes referred to as the "fill" or the "filling yarn"....

, i.e. "that which is woven".
The major components of the loom are the warp beam, heddle
Heddle
A heddle is an integral part of a loom. Each thread in the warp passes through a heddle, which is used to separate the warp threads for the passage of the weft. The typical heddle is made of cord or wire, and is suspended on a shaft of a loom. Each heddle has an eye in the center where the warp is...

s, harnesses, shuttle
Shuttle (weaving)
A shuttle is a tool designed to neatly and compactly store weft yarn while weaving. Shuttles are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed, between the yarn threads of the warp in order to weave in the weft....

, reed
Reed (weaving)
A reed is part of a loom, and resembles a comb. It is used to push the weft yarn securely into place as it is woven, separates the threads and keeps them in their positions, keeping them untangled, and guides the shuttle as it moves across the loom. It consists of a frame with lots of vertical...

 and takeup roll. In the loom, yarn processing includes shedding, picking, battening and taking-up operations.
  • Shedding. Shedding is the raising of part of the warp
    Warp (weaving)
    In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Warp means "that which is thrown...

     yarn to form a shed
    Shed (weaving)
    In weaving, the shed is the temporary separation between upper and lower warp yarns through which the weft is woven. The shed is created to make it easy to interlace the weft into the warp and thus create woven fabric. Most types of looms have some sort of device which separates some of the warp...

     (the vertical space between the raised and unraised warp yarns), through which the filling yarn, carried by the shuttle, can be inserted. On the modern loom, simple and intricate shedding operations are performed automatically by the heddle or heald frame, also known as a harness. This is a rectangular frame to which a series of wires, called heddles or healds, are attached. The yarns are passed through the eye holes of the heddles, which hang vertically from the harnesses. The weave pattern determines which harness controls which warp yarns, and the number of harnesses used depends on the complexity of the weave. Two common methods of controlling the heddles are dobbies
    Dobby loom
    A Dobby Loom is a type of floor loom that controls the whole warp threads using a device called a dobby. Dobby is a corruption of "draw boy" which refers to the weaver's helpers who used to control the warp thread by pulling on draw threads....

     and a Jacquard Head
    Jacquard loom
    The Jacquard loom is a mechanical loom, invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801, that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns such as brocade, damask and matelasse. The loom is controlled by punched cards with punched holes, each row of which corresponds to one row...

    .

  • Picking. As the harnesses raise the heddle
    Heddle
    A heddle is an integral part of a loom. Each thread in the warp passes through a heddle, which is used to separate the warp threads for the passage of the weft. The typical heddle is made of cord or wire, and is suspended on a shaft of a loom. Each heddle has an eye in the center where the warp is...

    s or healds, which raise the warp yarns, the shed is created. The filling yarn in inserted through the shed by a small carrier device called a shuttle. The shuttle is normally pointed at each end to allow passage through the shed. In a traditional shuttle loom, the filling yarn is wound onto a quill, which in turn is mounted in the shuttle. The filling yarn emerges through a hole in the shuttle as it moves across the loom. A single crossing of the shuttle from one side of the loom to the other is known as a pick. As the shuttle moves back and forth across the shed, it weaves an edge, or selvage
    Selvage
    The selvage or selvedge is the term for the self-finished edges of fabric. The selvages keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying. The selvages are a result of how the fabric is created...

    , on each side of the fabric to prevent the fabric from raveling.

  • Battening. As the shuttle moves across the loom laying down the fill yarn, it also passes through openings in another frame called a reed
    Reed (weaving)
    A reed is part of a loom, and resembles a comb. It is used to push the weft yarn securely into place as it is woven, separates the threads and keeps them in their positions, keeping them untangled, and guides the shuttle as it moves across the loom. It consists of a frame with lots of vertical...

     (which resembles a comb). With each picking operation, the reed presses or battens each filling yarn against the portion of the fabric that has already been formed. The point where the fabric is formed is called the fell. Conventional shuttle looms can operate at speeds of about 150 to 160 picks per minute.


With each weaving operation, the newly constructed fabric must be wound on a cloth beam. This process is called taking up. At the same time, the warp yarns must be let off or released from the warp beams. To become fully automatic, a loom needs a filling stop motion which will brake the loom, if the weft thread breaks. An automatic loom requires 0.125 hp to 0.5 hp to operate.

Back strap loom



A simple loom which has its roots in ancient civilizations comprising two sticks or bars between which the warps are stretched. One bar is attached to a fixed object and the other to the weaver usually by means of a strap around the back. On traditional looms, the two main sheds are operated by means of a shed roll over which one set of warps pass, and continuous string heddles which encase each of the warps in the other set. The weaver leans back and uses her body weight to tension the loom. To open the shed controlled by the string heddles, the weaver relaxes tension on the warps and raises the heddles. The other shed is usually opened by simply drawing the shed roll toward the weaver. Both simple and complex textiles can be woven on this loom. Width is limited to how far the weaver can reach from side to side to pass the shuttle. Warp faced textiles, often decorated with intricate pick-up patterns woven in complementary and supplementary warp techniques are woven by indigenous peoples today around the world. They produce such things as belts, ponchos, bags, hatbands and carrying cloths. Supplementary weft patterning and brocading is practiced in many regions. Balanced weaves are also possible on the backstrap loom. Today, commercially produced backstrap loom kits often include a rigid heddle.

Warp weighted loom



The warp-weighted loom
Warp-weighted loom
The warp-weighted loom is a simple and ancient form of loom in which the warp yarns hang freely from a bar supported by upright poles which can be placed at a convenient slant against a wall. Bundles of warp threads are tied to hanging weights called loom weights which keep the threads taut....

 is a vertical loom that may have originated in the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 period. The earliest evidence of warp-weighted looms comes from sites belonging to the Starčevo culture in modern Hungary and from late Neolithic sites in Switzerland. This loom was used in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, and spread north and west throughout Europe thereafter. Its defining characteristic is hanging weights (loom weights) which keep bundles of the warp
Warp (weaving)
In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Warp means "that which is thrown...

 threads taut. Frequently, extra warp thread is wound around the weights. When a weaver has reached the bottom of the available warp, the completed section can be rolled around the top beam, and additional lengths of warp threads can be unwound from the weights to continue. This frees the weaver from vertical size constraints.

Drawloom


A drawloom is a hand-loom for weaving figured cloth. In a drawloom, a "figure harness" is used to control each warp thread separately. A drawloom requires two operators, the weaver and an assistant called a "drawboy" to manage the figure harness.

Handloom

  1. Wood frame
  2. Seat for weaver
  3. Warp beam- let off
  4. Warp threads
  5. Back beam or platen
  6. Rods – used to make a shed
  7. Heddle frame - heald frame - harness
  8. Heddle
    Heddle
    A heddle is an integral part of a loom. Each thread in the warp passes through a heddle, which is used to separate the warp threads for the passage of the weft. The typical heddle is made of cord or wire, and is suspended on a shaft of a loom. Each heddle has an eye in the center where the warp is...

    - heald - the eye
  9. Shuttle
    Shuttle (weaving)
    A shuttle is a tool designed to neatly and compactly store weft yarn while weaving. Shuttles are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed, between the yarn threads of the warp in order to weave in the weft....

     with weft yarn
  10. Shed
  11. Completed fabric
  12. Breast beam
  13. Batten
    Beater (weaving)
    A beater is a weaving tool designed to push the weft yarn securely into place. In small hand weaving such as Inkle weaving and tablet weaving the beater may be combined with the shuttle into a single tool. In rigid heddle looms the beater is combined with the heddles...

     with reed
    Reed (weaving)
    A reed is part of a loom, and resembles a comb. It is used to push the weft yarn securely into place as it is woven, separates the threads and keeps them in their positions, keeping them untangled, and guides the shuttle as it moves across the loom. It consists of a frame with lots of vertical...

     comb
  14. Batten
    Beater (weaving)
    A beater is a weaving tool designed to push the weft yarn securely into place. In small hand weaving such as Inkle weaving and tablet weaving the beater may be combined with the shuttle into a single tool. In rigid heddle looms the beater is combined with the heddles...

     adjustment
  15. Lathe
  16. Treadles
  17. Cloth roll- takeup

A handloom is a simple machine used for weaving in which no power is used. In a wooden vertical-shaft looms the heddle
Heddle
A heddle is an integral part of a loom. Each thread in the warp passes through a heddle, which is used to separate the warp threads for the passage of the weft. The typical heddle is made of cord or wire, and is suspended on a shaft of a loom. Each heddle has an eye in the center where the warp is...

s were fixed in place in the shaft. The warp threads pass alternately through a heddle and through a space between the heddles (the shed
Shed (weaving)
In weaving, the shed is the temporary separation between upper and lower warp yarns through which the weft is woven. The shed is created to make it easy to interlace the weft into the warp and thus create woven fabric. Most types of looms have some sort of device which separates some of the warp...

), so that raising the shaft raises half the threads (those passing through the heddles), and lowering the shaft lowers the same threads—the threads passing through the spaces between the heddles remain in place.

Flying Shuttle



Hand weavers could only weave a cloth as wide as their armspan. If cloth needed to be wider, two people would do the task (often this would be an adult with a child). John Kay
John Kay (flying shuttle)
John Kay was the inventor of the flying shuttle, which was a key contribution to the Industrial Revolution. He is often confused with his namesake: fellow Lancastrian textile machinery inventor, the unrelated John Kay who built the first "spinning frame".-Life in England:John Kay was born...

(1704–1779) patented the Flying Shuttle
Flying shuttle
The flying shuttle was one of the key developments in weaving that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution. It was patented by John Kay in 1733. Only one weaver was needed to control its lever-driven motion. Before the shuttle, a single weaver could not weave a fabric wider than arms length. Beyond...

 in 1733. The weaver held a picking stick that was attached by cords to a device at both ends of the shed. With a flick of the wrist, one cord was pulled and the shuttle was propelled through the shed to the other end with considerable force, speed and efficiency. A flick in the opposite direction and the shuttle was propelled back. A single weaver had control of this motion but the flying shuttle could weave much wider fabric than an arms length at much greater speeds than had been achieved with the hand thrown shuttle.
The flying shuttle was one of the key developments in weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, the whole picking motion no longer relied on manual skill, and it was a matter of time before it could be powered.

Haute-lisse and basse-lisse looms


Looms used for weaving traditional tapestry
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

 are classified as haute-lisse
Warp (weaving)
In weaving cloth, the warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. The yarn that is inserted over-and-under the warp threads is called the weft, woof, or filler. Each individual warp thread in a fabric is called a warp end or end. Warp means "that which is thrown...

looms, where the warp is suspended vertically between two rolls, and the basse-lisse looms, where the warp extends horizontally between the rolls.

Power looms


Edmund Cartwright
Edmund Cartwright
Edward Cartwright was an English clergyman and inventor of the power loom.- Life and work :...

 built and patented a power loom
Power loom
A power loom is a mechanized loom powered by a line shaft. The first power loom was designed in 1784 by Edmund Cartwright and first built in 1785. It was refined over the next 47 years until a design by Kenworthy and Bullough, made the operation completely automatic. This was known as the...

  in 1785, and it was this that was adopted by the nascent cotton industry in England. The silk loom made by Jacques Vaucanson in 1745 operated on the same principles but wasn't developed further. The invention of the flying shuttle by John Kay
John Kay (flying shuttle)
John Kay was the inventor of the flying shuttle, which was a key contribution to the Industrial Revolution. He is often confused with his namesake: fellow Lancastrian textile machinery inventor, the unrelated John Kay who built the first "spinning frame".-Life in England:John Kay was born...

 was critical to the development of a commercially successful power loom. Cartwright's loom was impractical but the ideas were developed by numerous inventors in the Manchester area in England, where by 1818 there were 32 factories containing 5732 looms.

Horrocks loom was viable but it was the Roberts Loom
Roberts Loom
The Roberts Loom was a cast iron power loom introduced by Richard Roberts in 1830. It was the first loom that was more viable than a hand loom, it was easily adjustable and reliable thus widely used in Lancashire cotton industry. - Richard Roberts :...

 in 1830 that marked the turning point. Before this time hand looms had outnumbered power looms. Incremental changes to the three motions continued to be made. The problems of sizing, stop-motions, consistent take-up and a temple to maintain the width remained. In 1841, Kenworthy and Bullough
Howard & Bullough
Howard & Bullough was a firm of textile machine manufacturers in Accrington, Lancashire. They were the world's major manufacturer of power looms in the 1860s.-History:...

 produced the Lancashire Loom
Lancashire Loom
The Lancashire Loom was a semi-automatic power loom invented by James Bullough and William Kenworthy in 1842. Although it is self-acting, it has to be stopped to recharge empty shuttles. It was the mainstay of the Lancashire cotton industry for a century....

 which was self-acting or semi-automatic. This enables a 15-year-old spinner to run six looms at the same time. Incrementally, the Dickinson Loom, and then the Keighley
Keighley
Keighley is a town and civil parish within the metropolitan borough of the City of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. It is situated northwest of Bradford and is at the confluence of the River Aire and the River Worth...

 born inventor Northrop working for the Draper Corporation
Draper Corporation
The Draper Corporation was once the largest maker of power looms for the textile industry in the United States. It operated in Hopedale, Massachusetts for over 130 years.-Beginnings:...

 in Hopedale
Hopedale
Hopedale is the name of several places:*In Canada:**Hopedale, Newfoundland and Labrador*In the United States:**Hopedale, Illinois**Hopedale, Massachusetts***Site of Hopedale Community**Hopedale, Ohio...

 produced the fully automatic Northrop Loom
Northrop Loom
The Northrop Loom was a fully automatic power loom marketed by George Draper and Sons, Hopedale, Massachusetts beginning in 1895. It was named after James Henry Northrop who invented the shuttle-charging mechanism. -The Loom:...

 which recharged the shuttle when the pirn
Pirn
A pirn is a rod onto which weft thread is wound for use in weaving. Unlike a bobbin, it is fixed in place, and the thread is delivered off the end of the pirn rather than from the center. A typical pirn is made of wood or plastic and is slightly tapered for most of its length, flaring out more...

 was empty. The Draper E and X model became the leading products from 1909 until they were challenged by the different characteristics of synthetic fibres such as rayon
Rayon
Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. Because it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber; it is a semi-synthetic or artificial fiber. Rayon is known by the names viscose rayon and art silk in the textile industry...

.

From 1942 the faster and more efficient shuttleless Sulzer looms
Sulzer (manufacturer)
Sulzer Ltd. is a Swiss industrial engineering and manufacturing firm, founded by Salomon Sulzer-Bernet in 1775 and established as Sulzer Brothers Ltd. in 1834 in Winterthur, Switzerland. Today it is a publicly owned company with international subsidiaries...

 and the rapier looms were introduced. Modern industrial looms can weave at 2000 weft insertions per minute. Today, advances in technology have produced a variety of looms designed to maximize production for specific types of material. The most common of these are air-jet looms (e.g. “JAT710”) and water-jet looms.

See also

  • Fashion and Textile Museum
    Fashion and Textile Museum
    The Fashion and Textile Museum is a museum of fashion opened in Bermondsey, south London by designer Zandra Rhodes. It was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.The museum is owned and managed by Newham College of Further Education...

  • Shuttle (weaving)
    Shuttle (weaving)
    A shuttle is a tool designed to neatly and compactly store weft yarn while weaving. Shuttles are thrown or passed back and forth through the shed, between the yarn threads of the warp in order to weave in the weft....

  • Textile manufacturing
    Textile manufacturing
    Textile manufacturing is a major industry. It is based in the conversion of three types of fibre into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. These are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. Cotton remains the most important natural fibre, so is treated in depth...

  • Timeline of clothing and textiles technology
    Timeline of clothing and textiles technology
    Timeline of clothing and textiles technology.*Prehistory – spindle used to create yarn from fibres.* – loom.*c. 28000 BC – Sewing needles in use at Kostenki in Russia....

  • Weaving (mythology)
    Weaving (mythology)
    The theme of weaving in mythology is ancient, and its lost mythic lore probably accompanied the early spread of this art. In traditional societies today, westward of Central Asia and the Iranian plateau, weaving is a mystery within woman's sphere...


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