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 States.
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 plant."
The foundry in 1950 Draper Foundries Brochure
The West Foundry Draper Menu HOME