Draper temple
Dutcher temple

Ira Draper, shown holding a loom temple in his left hand. This 1816 invention of his was the foundation of the Draper business. The portrait was given to the Hopedale Community House by the Gannett family.

James Draper, son of Ira and brother of Ebenezer and George Draper, inherited his father’s temple patent. Below is the first ad he placed for their sale. It was in the first issue of the Boston Daily Evening Transcript, July 24, 1830

Warren Dutcher, originally of North Bennington, Vermont, in the 1850s invented a temple that worked better than the Draper temple. George Draper bought an interest in it, and in 1856, Dutcher moved to Hopedale where the business was eventually operated under the name, Dutcher Temple Company.

The photos below show the Dutcher temple. The temples are circled in red in the first two pictures. The real working part, the temple roll, is out of sight. It’s a small, rotating cylinder with many projecting points which engage the cloth as it passes by. You can see the roll in the fourth picture and in a page from a Dutcher catalog. Temple rolls were produced in an area of the shop called the roll room. Only women were employed for this job. (Starting during World War I women were hired for other jobs in Drapers, but up until then, the roll room was the only department where they were allowed to work. Actually, so far I’ve been unable to find out in what year women were first hired to work in the roll room.)  Instead of patenting the process of inserting the teeth into the cylinder, Drapers kept it secret. The roll room was kept locked. Ira’s temple was patented, but it seems that either the Ducher and later models or the process of manufacturing them, or both, weren’t.

The article below is from Mechanical and Organizational Innovation: The Drapers and the Automatic Loom by William Maas. It was published in the winter 1989 issue of The Business History Review.  Thanks to Giancarlo BonTempo for sending it.

The location of the Dutcher Temple Company shop can be seen in this drawing just below Social Street. At that time, Social and Union streets crossed Hopedale Street and continued a little further to the west. Those sections of them were later discontinued as the business of the Draper Company increased and they built more shops.

The “Diamond D,” which eventually was used as the Draper Corporation logo, was originally the Draper Temple Company trademark.

Photos of Dutcher temple rolls and box sent by Sarah Carr, White Sulphur Spring, West Virginia in June 2017.

This sign was on what had once been the home of the Dutcher Temple Company, eventually becoming absorbed into the Draper Corporation,  until it was demolished in 2021.

                                           The Draper and Dutcher Temples

 In 1816, Ira Draper invented an improved type of temple (shown at top of page), a device that kept the cloth stretched to the desired degree as it was woven in a loom. Eventually his son, Ebenezer, obtained the patent. Ebenezer and his wife, Anna, were among the original members of the Hopedale Community. The temple became one of a number of products manufactured in the little shop at the Freedom Street dam on the Mill River. It was, however, the most financially successful product. In 1853, Ebenezer’s brother, George, moved to Hopedale and joined the Community. By 1856, the temple was selling so well that Ebenezer and George owned three-quarters of the stock in the Community. They decided to withdraw their investment, which resulted in the failure of the Community. Over the next several decades, the company the Draper brothers formed produced and sold many different parts for spinning and weaving machinery, and in 1894 they sold their first looms.

Here’s what the official Draper history has to say on the matter:

In 1816 Ira was granted a patent on an improved fly-shuttle hand loom. It was superior in many ways to the hand looms then in use, but the advent of the power loom made it inadvisable to push its manufacture and sale.

A feature of his loom patent, however, was the fact that it covered the invention of the first self-acting loom temple, which proved as timely as his loom was untimely. It was attached to the loom breast beam, held the cloth over a revolving star wheel, and was practically automatic. The temples in use at that time were of the stretcher type and had to be taken off and readjusted so often they required a considerable part of the
weaver’s time and labor.

 Mr. Daper’s temple, by relieving the weaver of this time-killing labor, greatly increased the product of the new power looms and enabled the weaver to run two looms instead of one. For fifty years, or until England began to use self-acting temples, it established and kept the number of looms per weaver in American mills above that of their English cousins.

 Ira Draper’s invention of the temple was notable in textile history for several reasons. It was the second invention in the textile field by an American. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin was the first. It came at a time to contribute powerfully to the successful establishment of the factory system in America. It was outstandingly notable because it became the foundation of the business of Draper Corporation which through five generations of Drapers has given the American textile industry hundreds of machines and devices that
have marked the progress of cloth-making in this country. William H. Chase, Five Generations of Loom Builders, pp. 4 – 5.

 A little further on, Chase continues with the next development in temples:

 In 1854 he [George Draper] bought an interest in the new Dutcher temple, then made in North Bennington, Vt., the first temple with cylindrical rolls and the first to be reciprocated by the lay. The business was moved to Hopedale two years later, when the inventor joined the two Draper brothers in the partnership of W.W. Dutcher & Co. Chase, p. 7.

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