The Domestic Art Of Spinning

Mystery Object

     When I first opened this exhibit and showed this item, I had not had any luck in discovering exactly what it was. I had noted that this item had something to do with spinning and weaving, and that I had purchased it at an antique shop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I noted that the lady I bought it from told me that it was a type of niddy-noddy, but that subsequent searches of books and the Internet had not revealed anything like it in regard to spinning. One handspinning authority suggested that it was a part originally installed on an early weaving loom.
     Well, I have found out what it is. The docent at the National Museum of Coverlets in Bedford, Pennsylvania identified it as a part of an "industrial loom" which functioned similarly to a hand yarn winder. Numerous of these were positioned side by side, and bands placed on the parallel 'arms' determined how much yarn could be wound on them. In use, a small weight was suspended from the center to provide tension. It would probably date from the time when industrial looms were forcing home looms out of existence ~ from the 1830s to the 1870s.