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.
- Spinning Wheel Patent Model
- Patent No. 710, issued April 25, 1838
- Hiram F. Wheeler of Springville, Pennsylvania
- Hiram Wheeler’s domestic wheel was for spinning wool. He titled his invention “inclined spinner,” referring to the fact that the operator would sit at the wheel as opposed to standing and walking when using the typical wool wheel. When the treadle was forced down by the operator’s foot, a cord pulled the carriage and spinning wheel head away from the spinner. A weight brought both of them back toward the spinner. This movement of the carriage was equivalent to the spinner walking forward to the spindle tip for the draw out and then back to the wheel. Wheeler specifically claimed as his invention this sliding action of the wheel head.
- Currently not on view
- model constructed
- before 1838-04-25
- patent date
- Wheeler, Hiram F.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- patent number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center