1838 Parsons's Patent Model of a Cloth Shearing Machine

1838 Parsons's Patent Model of a Cloth Shearing Machine

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Cloth Shearing Machine Patent Model
Patent No 1,015, issued November 25, 1838
Seth Parsons of Hoosick Falls, New York
Seth Parsons’s Patent No. 1,015 was an improvement on his earlier patent, 3082x, granted in 1819. The later patent resembled the earlier one but differed from it by its ability “to shear broad and narrow cloths, the machine operating upon [the cloth] in its passage back and forth both ways without changing it from end to end, thereby saving much time...” Also claimed in the patent specification was the motion of a brush that would brush up the nap in either direction, and a few other minor construction details.
Parsons’s Patent No. 3082x had claimed to be an improvement on Samuel Dorr’s 1794 patent cloth shearing machine, which was called the “wheel of knives.” The “wheel of knives” refers to the shearing cylinder that was wrapped with blades in a spiral pattern. Parsons said of his improvement that it could be “composed of frame of suitable size, about 3 feet 7 inches long; 2 feet 4 inches wide and 4 feet high. Instead of knives on a large circle it should be a small one, about 2-1/2 inches in diameter...”
In the 1820 Manufacturers Census, there is a reference to Parsons’s first shearing machine being used by a woolen manufacturer, Shearwood and Goreham, from Rensselaer County, New York. This earlier machine is also mentioned in an account of the Patent Office fire of 1836 as being one of several models of valuable improvements in shearing and napping cloth. At the twelfth Exhibition of American Manufacturers, in 1842, Parsons and Wilder were awarded certificates of Honorable Mention for their improved cloth shearing machines.
Currently not on view
Object Name
shearing machine, cloth
cloth shearing machine patent model
Object Type
Patent Model
model constructed
before 1838-11-25
patent date
Parsons, Seth
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 23 1/2 in x 22 in x 15 in; 59.69 cm x 55.88 cm x 38.1 cm
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
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