Draper Products

    When I was a kid growing up in Hopedale, I knew that looms were made at Drapers, but that was
    about 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 with him.

    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

    The same source the paragraph above came from lists the following items the Draper companies
    were selling:

    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
    Slasher Warpers
    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

    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.

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