it. It wasn’t until I began to take an interest in Hopedale history in the past ten years that I began to
wonder when they produced their first loom, and what other items they manufactured. Fortunately there
is a fair amount of information available on this.
The first Draper product was a loom part called a temple. (See picture below.) The patent for this 1816
invention of Ira Draper, was owned by his son, Ebenezer when the Hopedale Community built its first
shop in 1842. It became the most successful product of the Community, and probably the first thing
manufactured by Ebenezer and his brother George when they formed their own company in 1852. In
1856, they withdrew their investment in the Community which resulted in its failure. Around that time,
the Drapers learned that an inventor in Vermont had come up with a temple that was better than theirs. .
His name was Warren Dutcher . (Warren’s house still stands at the corner of Adin and Dutcher streets.
The home of his son, Frank Dutcher, is the one on Adin Street that was operated for many years as the
Adin Manor Nursing Home.) Dutcher’s business operated under the name, Dutcher Temple Company.
The Draper brothers were his partners. This was the first of a series of moves in which they succeeded
in bringing an inventor of a promising device for textile machinery to Hopedale and going into business
At first the Drapers operated under the name of E.D. & G. Draper. When Ebenezer left Hopedale in
1868, General William F. Draper joined his father and the company became George Draper & Son.
Later, when the general’s brothers, Eben and George Albert joined, the name was changed to George
Draper & Sons. Other divisions that were operated as separate companies, all housed in the same
area that eventually became consolidated under the name, Draper Company, and later Draper
Corporation, included the Hopedale Machine Company, Hopedale Furnace Company, and the
Hopedale Machine Screw Company. Companies carrying the names of inventors, in addition to
Dutcher, included the Sawyer Spindle Company and the Lapworth Elastic Fabric Company.
From 1856, through the 1880s, the Draper companies produced an increasing number of parts and
machines, mostly involved with spinning and weaving. One of the big textile developments of the era in
which they played a significant role was a process called ring spinning. Spindles were one of their
main products in that era. The following paragraph, from a Draper publication, written in 1881, gives an
idea of what the company was doing at that time.
"Our business, begun in a small way, has been gradually increased, until it has included
improvements in every branch of cotton manufacture. Many of the most important improvements in use
have been introduced by us; and we have undoubtedly owned or had the management of more useful
patents on cotton machinery than any other concern in the country. Among such inventions are the
Draper Revolving Temple, the best of its day; the Dutcher Temple, which has since superseded the
above, and is so much superior to every other that we have practically the entire market of the country;
the Parallel Shuttle Motion, on which we have owned about a dozen patents, including that of W.W.
Dutcher, the original inventor; the Thompson Oil Can, which has sustained its supremacy over
numerous rivals for more than twenty years; the Evener for Railway-Heads, which has been universally
adopted; the Shuttle Guide, Let-Off Motion and Thick and Thin Place Preventer for Looms; the firs Self-
Oiling Steps and Bolsters for Spinning; the Sawyer Spindle, proved by actual tests, and acknowledged
by competent judges, to be the best of its class in operation, of which at this writing about a million and
three-quarters have been sold; the wonderful New Rabbeth Spindle, recently introduced, but already
selling in great numbers; Draper’s Filling Spinner, which is rapidly superseding mules for weft
spinning; the Double Adjustable Spinning Ring, already sold to the number of two million; improved
Spoolers, with the Wade Bobbin Holder and Laflin Thread Guide, and the Sawyer or elevated bolster for
their spindles; Twisters, with the Sawyer or New Rabbeth principle applied to their spindles; Slasher
Warpers with rising or falling rolls, Walmsley’s matchless Step Motion, and an unrivaled Slow Motion;
with many others as widely known.”
The same source the paragraph above came from lists the following items the Draper companies
The Sawyer Patent Spindle for Ring Spinning
The New Rabbeth Patent Spindle
Patent Double Adjustable Spinning Rings
Doyle Separators and Kilburn Contractors for Ring Spinning
Houghton Traveler Brushes
Weeks' Patent Banding Machines
Spoolers with Improved Steps and Bolsters
Skein Spoolers and Reels
Laflin Patent Spooler Guides
Wade's Patent Bobbin Holders
Warper Creels and Beams
Patent Cut Markers for Slashers
Copper Rolls for Slashers and Dressers
Twisters, with Sawyer or New Rabbeth Spindles
The Foss Improvements in Speeders
Patent Let-off Motions for Looms
Patent Picker Bolts, Screws, and Collars for Looms
Patent Loom Protectors
Draper's Thin Place Preventer for Looms
Kayser's Patent Temples for Looms
Murkland's Carpet Temples for Looms
Draper's Revolving temples for Looms
Shuttle Guides for Looms
Thompson Oil Cans, with Improved Tubes
Patent Cotton Bale Shears
It wasn’t until 1887 that the Drapers began moving toward the development of a loom. They decided
that if they were going to make and sell them, they wouldn’t be ordinary looms. Theirs would be
automatic. Up until that time, when the bobbin ran out of thread, the bobbin girl would have to stop the
loom and replace the empty bobbin with a new one. It was a fairly involved procedure. Development of a
loom that would eliminate this required the invention of many new devices. There were about six men
who made major contributions, but the most important ones were the work of James Northrop, so
when the new loom was finally ready to market, it was sold under the name of the Northrop loom. The
first of them were delivered in 1894. It was a revolutionary development in the cotton weaving industry
and Drapers sold hundreds of thousands of them over the next fifty years.
A survey of Hopedale houses and other buildings done in the 1980s, includes the following:
From then on, (after mentioning the move of Warren Dutcher to Hopedale in 1856 to establish his
temple shop and go into business with Ebenezer and George Draper) the Company came up with a
series of patents: the parallel under-pick motion, the Snell & Bartlett let-off (1857), the Stearns parallel
motion (1859), the Draper loose frog (1863), a new spindle (1867), the Metcalf hand-threading shuttle
(1868), the Sawyer spindle (1871), the Rabbeth spindle (1878), and most importantly the Northrop
Loom in 1894 which revolutionized weaving.
Below are five pages from the preface to an 1896 book published by Draper with the lengthy title, Facts
and Figures for Textile Manufacturers Concerning the Proper Methods of Equipping and Running
Mills, Including Special Treatises on Carding, Spinning, Spooling, Warping, Dyeing, Reeling, Twisting
and Weaving. Also General History, Mathematical Tables, and a Full List of the Patented Cotton
Machinery Introduced and Sold by the Firm of Geo. Draper & Sons, And the Following Companies for
whom they are the Sole Agents: The Sawyer Spindle Co., Hopedale Machine Co., Dutcher Temple
Co., Northrop Loom Co. Presented with their Compliments. Hopedale, Mass., U.S.A. 1896
The Draper temple, invented by Ira Draper in 1816.
The Dutcher temple, invented by Warren Dutcher,
who moved to Hopedale and established the
Dutcher Temple Company in 1856.
The Northrop loom hopper or bobbin battery. The
bobbins shown at the top of this device would
automatically replace empty bobbins in the shuttle.