Curator's Choice: Crompton’s Loom and New England’s Textile Boom
with Ginny Badgett
Throughout the nineteenth century, New England textile manufacturing led the United States in innovation and industrialization. One of the key technological breakthroughs was made by William Crompton, who patented his fancy power loom in 1837. Crompton’s loom mechanized the process of weaving intricate or “fancy” patterns and dramatically sped up production. WIlliam’s son George and grandson continued the family business of manufacturing looms in Worcester, MA until merging with their competitor, Knowles Loom Works, in 1897. Crompton’s invention was so successful that a U.S. government report boasted in 1878: “upon the Crompton loom or looms based on it, are woven every yard of fancy cloth in the world.” Join Assistant Curator Ginny Badgett as she examines J.H. Bufford’s colorful chromolithograph advertisement for Crompton’s loom and discusses the loom’s important influence on New England.
This event is part of our three-part series, "Curator's Choice." Join an Athenæum curator for a casual conversation about their current projects and the special collections items that inspire them, spark their curiousity, and generate discussion.