1838 Bigelow's Patent Model of a Loom

Loom for Weaving Knotted Counterpanes Patent Model
Patent No. 546, issued January 6, 1838
Erastus B. Bigelow of West Boylston, Massachusetts
Erastus B. Bigelow primarily claimed the mechanism that raised the knots that formed the figures or patterns on the counterpane. His patent specification was lengthy, five pages of drawings and nine pages of written specifications.
In 1840, the editor of the Journal of the Franklin Institute wrote, “. . . the goods produced in this loom are of a quality very superior to such as are produced in the hand loom; at all events we have not met with any thing of the kind in the shops that will compare with them for texture, and for beauty and regularity of pattern. . . . We anticipate that at a very early day, American counterpanes will become as general as berths on board steamboats, and as beds at hotels. The articles are for sale in all our large cities, and as soon as there is a sufficient supply, will make their way into every part of the Union.”
Bigelow was a prolific inventor, patenting at least 33 loom improvements. In 1842 he revolutionized carpet manufacture by a series of inventions that made the carpet loom automatic. The automatic features enabled manufacturers to replace male weavers with less costly female weavers or boys. His inventions for the power weaving of Brussels, Jacquard, Ingrain, and Wilton carpet were quite successful. Before the mid-19th century, the importance of these inventions was recognized both in the United States and in Europe.
Currently not on view
Object Name
loom patent model
model constructed
before 1838-01-06
patent date
Bigelow, Erastus Brigham
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (mechanisms material)
associated place
United States: Massachusetts, West Boylston
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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