Shuttle and Bobbin

The shuttle and bobbin were integral parts of weaving on a loom. The bobbin carried the weft or filling yarns, which unspooled and interlaced with the warp yarns (stretched on the loom) to make the cloth as the weaver passed the shuttle from side to side, hand to hand. Until the invention of the flying shuttle in 1733, most cloth was only as wide as a weaver could comfortably reach. The new shuttle made it possible to weave wider fabrics, and to weave more quickly. This set the stage for the invention of the power loom, adopted widely in the new American textile mills. By the 1830s textile mills were a major source of employment for young women, a trend which continued through the 20th century. This shuttle and bobbin, for a power loom, were used in the donor’s father’s mill in about 1870.
ID Number
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Credit Line
W. O Stricker
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Home and Community Life: Textiles
Industry & Manufacturing
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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