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.
- Spindle and Flyer Patent Model
- Patent No. 781, issued June 12, 1838
- Richard E. Yerkes of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- According to his patent specification, Yerkes patented “the revolving arrangement and combination of the sliding shaft, with the broach, or with the spool, for the purpose of removing and renewing the latter . . . .” The action of the sliding shaft enabled the operator to remove and change the spool when the spring was pressed down. In addition, he patented the ring in combination with the flyers that distributed the yarn on the spool. Yerkes intended his improvements to be used on machines for spinning cotton and other fibers.
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1838-06-12
- patent date
- Yerkes, Richard E.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- patent number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center