1838 Mason's Patent Model of a Speeder for Roving Cotton

Speeder for Roving Cotton Patent Model
Patent No. 724, issued May 4, 1838
William Mason of Taunton, Massachusetts
In 1837, William Mason, who was employed by Crocker and Richmond, developed a speeder (a machine used in cotton yarn spinning) to replace the one that had been invented by George Danforth in 1824.
Mason’s patent consisted of two parts: the method of removing the full spindle and the centrifugal levers. In 1839, the editor of the Journal of the Franklin Institute stated of the first that it was “ingenious, and manifestly good.” Of the second part, he explained that “by their weight at their outer ends, these levers expanded by the centrifugal force, with a power proportioned to their velocity, causing their inner ends to press upon the spools, and laying the yarn hard and compact upon them; and consequently, admitting of a very high degree of speed.” Although Mason was granted Patent No. 724 for his improvements, it proved difficult to thread and to remove the bobbins.
Earlier in his career, Mason had devised a loom for weaving diaper cloth and another loom for weaving damask tablecloths. In 1833, he succeeded in perfecting John Thorp’s ring frame to the point where it was later used extensively in the textile industry. He also invented a self-acting cotton spinning machine (Patent No. 1,801, issued October 8, 1840), which for that period was a successful alternative to the contemporary ring spinning machine.
Mason, with the financial backing of Boston merchant James Kellog Mills, established a machine shop in 1842 called William Mason and Company. Business prospered and in 1845 new buildings were constructed. At that time, Mason’s Taunton shop was considered the largest machine shop in the United States. The shop was particularly successful in manufacturing cotton machinery, as well as machine tools, cupola furnaces, blowers, rifles, Campbell printing presses, gears, and shafts.
Mason found new fame in 1852 when he began building locomotives, the first of which was finished in 1853. His locomotives found wide acceptance for the beauty of design and technical excellence. Mason was a pioneer inventor and manufacturer whose ideas, manufacturing methods, and products had a profound influence on American technology.
Currently not on view
Object Name
speeder for roving cotton patent model
model constructed
before 1838-05-04
patent date
Mason, William
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
patent number
Patent Models
Patent Models
Patent Models, Textile Machinery
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Patent Models
Patent Models, Textile Machinery
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Janssen, Barbara Suit. Patent Models Index

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