The 50,000 objects in the textile collections fall into two main categories: raw fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and machines, tools, and other textile technology. Shawls, coverlets, samplers, laces, linens, synthetics, and other fabrics are part of the first group, along with the 400 quilts in the National Quilt Collection. Some of the Museum's most popular artifacts, such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the gowns of the first ladies, have an obvious textile connection.
The machinery and tools include spinning wheels, sewing machines, thimbles, needlework tools, looms, and an invention that changed the course of American agriculture and society. A model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, made by the inventor in the early 1800s, shows the workings of a machine that helped make cotton plantations profitable in the South and encouraged the spread of slavery.
"Textiles - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Loom Shuttle Patent Model
- Patent No. 1,485, issued on January 31, 1840
- James Baldwin of Nashua, New Hampshire
- Baldwin’s patent consisted of a steel spring and catch made in one piece that fits inside the wooden bobbin. In his patent specification, he claimed this avoided the expense of separate catches and springs that were in the common shuttle as then in use. The arrangement and construction of the spring and catch were such that pushing the bobbin down on the spindle and into the mouth of the shuttle secured the bobbin on the catch. By pulling up on the bobbin, the head of the spindle pushed down on the spring, which in turn disengaged the catch and released the bobbin. These improvements make it easier for the bobbin changer to replenish the shuttle with thread.
- An earlier notice of Baldwin’s loom shuttle appears in the Journal of the American Institute. In 1838, at the eleventh Annual Fair of the American Institute, James and E. Baldwin were awarded a diploma for an improved loom shuttle. On May 3, 1859, James Baldwin was successful in having the shuttle awarded Reissue Patent No. 710.
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1840-01-31
- patent date
- Baldwin, James
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- patent number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center