The Bobbin Battery
The bobbin battery, one of the most important features in the development of the
automatic loom, was the invention of James Northrop. The top picture was taken at
the Boott Mill, Lowell National Historical Park, by Don Barton. The lower one is from
the Little Red Shop. If you'd like to see Draper looms at work, the Lowell park is the
place to go. They have 88 looms and whenever I've been there, they've had a dozen
or so running.
Before the development of the Northrop loom, when the thread in the bobbin ran out
after being carried back and forth by the shuttle, the loom would have to be stopped,
the empty bobbin removed from the shuttle, and a new bobbin inserted. With this
device, when the loom was started, it would have many bobbins in the battery. As a
bobbin ran out of thread, a new one would automatically push the empty one out of
the shuttle and take its place. The loom wouldn't have to be stopped and the mill
could operate with fewer employees.
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