The story of Draper Corporation, world's largest builder of automatic looms begins in 1816 with the invention,
by Ira Draper, of a loom mechanism which permitted a weaver to tend two machines instead of one.
Later, in 1841, the Draper business was moved to Hopedale and housed in the Little Red Shop (now used
as a museum). For some years the company was active in spindle manufacture and the development and
promotion of ring spinning in this country.
Following extensive research, Draper produced the first automatic loom in 1894. This loom inaugurated the
modern era of industrial weaving.
The present Draper plant in Hopedale covers 38 acres and has a floor area of 1,687,605 sq. ft. The
company has 7 other branch plants and 7 sales offices and warehouses at various locations in the United
Our foundry at Hopedale is one of the most modern and efficient in New England. Continuous molding
units, mechanized handling of all materials, and removal of finished castings by conveyors make possible the
production of more and better castings.
Draper makes 20,000, 30,000, and 40,000 tensile iron, laboratory controlled for physical and chemical
properties. With maximum potential daily production close to 400 tons, there have been, on occasion, 340
different jobs passing through the foundry simultaneously. Foundry versatility is further indicated by a range of
casting weights from 1 ounce to 1/2 ton. Castings may be annealed.
Draper castings for outside work are given a 100% inspection
The combined experience of supervisory personnel in the Draper foundry totals over 750 years with the
individual length of service averaging 23 years.
Economic production through mechanization, foundry capacity and versatility, experienced men--all
contribute to the efficient production of high quality Draper castings. From the text on the back of the card
with the two pictures at the top of this page.
Thanks to Al Tarca for the material shown here. It came on a glossy 5 1/2 x 7 card with the photos on one
side and text on the other. At least one family moved to Hopedale in 1841, but most, probably including
Ebenezer Draper, arrived in the first few months of 1842. The matter of which early building became The Little
Red Shop is taken up elsewhere on this website. (See Red Shop Menu). Draper company history generally
has little or nothing to say about the original Community. In Five Generations of Loom Builders: A History of
Draper Corporation, Adin Ballou's name is never mentioned and reference to the Community is limited to the
following sentence: "The business found a permanent home in 1841 when Ebenezer D. joined in the
settlement of the new village of Hopedale, and the first Draper shop was built on the site of the present Draper
The foundry in 1950 Draper Foundries Brochure
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