1837 Harvey's Patent Model of a Hair Cloth Loom

1837 Harvey's Patent Model of a Hair Cloth Loom

<< >>
Hair Cloth Loom Patent Model
Patent No. 490, issued November 25, 1837
Charles R. Harvey of Poughkeepsie, New York
Weaving with horsehair was difficult and slow because the weaver had to select an individual horsehair for each weft and insert it into the warp. Harvey’s loom was a step toward mechanizing this process. But Harvey dealt only with changing from a hand loom to a power loom, not with the problem of weaving with horsehair. Even in his patent specification, he mentioned that the “hook” (a simple wooden rod with a hook at one end by which the horsehair was drawn in to be woven) is “made in the usual way.” Harvey detailed his improvements as the application of power to both the movement of the hook and the operation of the loom overall.
At the tenth Annual Fair of the American Institute in 1837, Harvey was awarded a gold medal for his “hair seating loom.” The Journal of the American Institute, published in 1838, remarked that “this is the first application of power to weaving hair cloth; and concerning the extent of the article [hair cloth] now used for furniture, we think the loom is entitled to the highest consideration.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
hair cloth loom patent model
Object Type
Patent Model
model constructed
before 1837-11-25
patent date
Harvey, Charles R.
associated place
United States: New York, Poughkeepsie
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (mechanisms material)
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
patent number
Patent Models
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Patent Models
Patent Models, Textile Machinery
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object