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loom

loom, frame or machine used for weaving; there is evidence that the loom has been in use since 4400 BC

Modern looms are of two types, those with a shuttle (the part that carries the weft through the shed) and those without; the latter draw the weft from a stationary supply. There are basically three kinds of shuttleless looms. The dummy shuttle, the most widely used, contains no weft but moves through the shed depositing a trail of yarn. A second type, the newest of looms, makes use of jets of air or water to force the weft through the shed. A third kind, called the rapier type and widely used in carpet weaving, uses steel rods to move the weft into the shed.

The fundamental parts of all looms are the warp beam, a cylinder on which the warp threads are wound; heddles (rods or cords), each with an eye through which is drawn a warp thread; the harness, a rectangular frame set with a series of heddles operated to form a shed between the warp threads for the insertion of the weft threads; the reed, a comblike frame that pushes the filling yarn firmly against the finished cloth after each pick, or row; the breastbeam, over which the cloth is wound creating a tension with the warp beam; the cloth beam, on which the cloth is rolled as it is constructed; and the shuttle, if it is not a shuttleless loom.

Vertical looms, such as the Navajo and some tapestry looms, developed from the practice of hanging the warp beam from a tree and holding the yarns taut with stones, pegs, or a weighted pole. The horizontal form, at first two poles holding the warp extended on the ground, was widely used for the Western European handloom and for the foot loom, the forerunner of the modern power loom. In the foot loom the harnesses were operated by treadles, leaving the hands free to pass and catch the shuttle. John Kay invented (1733) the automatic fly shuttle, and in 1760 his son Robert devised a drop box by which trays automatically brought bobbins of colored threads in line as desired. These aids to weaving encouraged inventions to speed up spinning, which in turn made faster weaving essential.

Edmund Cartwright patented (1785) the first practical power loom, the basis of the modern loom with its multiplicity of automatic devices. By 1804, Joseph Marie Jacquard had perfected an attachment applicable to the power loom whereby any design might be woven on it. In the modern Jacquard, one repeat of the design is laid out on squared paper, then punched on cards that are laced into a continuous chain rotated on an overhead device. The cards are brought in contact with needles, each controlling a wire that lifts a heddle when the needle passes through a hold in the card. In the Lefier robot, a design made on copper with insulating paint is transmitted by electricity to needles that lift the heddles.

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loom

loom1 / loōm/ • n. an apparatus for making fabric by weaving yarn or thread. loom2 • v. [intr.] appear as a shadowy form, esp. one that is large or threatening: vehicles loomed out of the darkness. ∎  (of an event regarded as ominous or threatening) seem about to happen: there is a crisis looming higher mortgage rates loomed large last night. • n. [in sing.] a vague and often exaggerated first appearance of an object seen in darkness or fog, esp. at sea: the loom of the land ahead. ∎  the dim reflection by cloud or haze of a light that is not directly visible, e.g., from a lighthouse over the horizon.

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loom

loom Frame or set of frames on which threads are woven into cloth. The loom enables a set of threads, called the weft, to be passed over and under a set of lengthwise threads, called the warp. The simplest kind of loom is a single frame on which weaving is done by hand. Such looms have been used for more than 7000 years. In 1785, Edmund Cartwright invented a loom powered by a steam engine to speed cloth production. Today, most advanced commercial looms are computer-controlled and have mechanisms that thread the weft through the warp at speeds of c.100km/h (60mph).

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loom

loom2 (orig. naut.) move slowly up and down; appear indistinctly. XVI. perh. of LG. orig.; cf. EFris. lōmen move slowly, rel. to MHG. lüemen be weary, f. lüeme slack, soft.

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loom

loom1 tool; bucket, tub XIII; weaving machine XV (for earlier weblome ‘weaving implement’ XIV). ME. lōme, aphetic of OE. ġelōma utensil, implement.

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loom

loomabloom, assume, backroom, bloom, Blum, boom, broom, brume, combe, consume, doom, entomb, exhume, flume, foredoom, fume, gloom, groom, Hume, illume, inhume, Khartoum, khoum, loom, neume, perfume, plume, presume, resume, rheum, room, spume, subsume, tomb, vroom, whom, womb, zoom •catacomb • heirloom • broadloom •taproom • guardroom • staffroom •darkroom • classroom • bathroom •bedroom, headroom •legroom • restroom •dayroom, playroom •saleroom • stateroom • salesroom •tearoom • green room • sickroom •anteroom • bridegroom • stockroom •strongroom • box room • washroom •storeroom • boardroom • ballroom •courtroom • houseroom • showroom •cloakroom • elbow room •poolroom, schoolroom •newsroom •gunroom, sunroom •mushroom • common room •workroom • hecatomb • vacuum •legume • volume • costume •Leverhulme

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LOOM

LOOM (USA) Loyal Order of Moose

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Loom

LOOM

Although the process of weaving has been modified and adapted to every technological advancement known to humanity, including that of computers, when one watches a contemporary weaver working at a loom in the early 2000s, what is being observed is essentially a process, and equipment, that goes back thousands of years. The loom was invented as a means to hold one set of elements, the warp (yarns extended lengthwise on the loom), under tension so that the second set of elements, the weft (yarns running crosswise), could be inserted and interlaced with the warp, to form cloth. The loom that most contemporary weavers use is called a floor loom (or a treadle loom, a shaft loom, or a harness loom). There are numerous companies making these looms in the early twenty-first century, each with its own modifications, but the essentials of the shaft looms are the same.

Elements of a Shaft Loom

The essential parts of a shaft loom are illustrated in the given diagram. The loom has a frame with both a front


beam and a back beam. Below the back beam lie one or two warp beams, which hold the warp or warps threads. Each warp beam will have a crank attached to it that is used to turn the beam as the warp is wound on to it. Below the front beam is the cloth beam, which holds the finished cloth as it is woven. The warp is tensioned between the back and cloth beams; the tensioning of these threads is one of the essential reasons for having a loom.

The castle is in the middle of the loom; it can be high or low, depending on the manufacturer, and the shafts (sometimes called harnesses by weavers in the United States) are seated within it. The shafts can be suspended from chains or ropes attached to levers or pulleys, or they may be riding in slots at the side of the castle.

Floor looms are generally built with anywhere from 2 to 24 shafts, though the majority of looms are 4-, or 8-, or 16-shaft looms. Shafts are movable frames that hold heddles. Heddles have eyes (holes) in their center through which individual warp ends are threaded. In the space between the shafts and the front beam, a loom has a beater, which may be suspended from a high castle or pivoting from the bottom of the loom. The beater has a furrow in its frame in which a reed is placed. Reeds are flat metal or steel combs, with evenly spaced teeth. The spaces of a reed are called dents, and these are manufactured with different specifications. A weaver will usually have a number of different reeds (perhaps one with 8 dents per inch; one with 12 dents per inch; maybe one with 20 dents per inch). Depending on the sett (the density) of their warp, the weaver will insert the appropriate reed into the beater. When the beater is brought forward during weaving, the reed passes smoothly between the warp ends that are threaded in it, and then pushes the weft into the web of the cloth. More than one warp end can pass through a dent of the reed, as long as they are adjacent ends. The front of the beater usually extends a bit under the threads, and is called the shuttle race. When the shuttle (the device that holds a bobbin wound with the weft yarn) is thrown from edge to edge, it slides smoothly along the shuttle race.

Floor looms have treadles (pedals) that are attached to the shafts, so when a treadle is depressed the shaft will raise or lower. Lamms are the horizontal levers that reside between the treadle and the shaft and they help with the mechanics of the lifting of the shafts. Looms are usually equipped with the same number of treadles as shafts, plus two; but some four-harness looms have only four pedals. Since a weaver needs to change which shafts are tied to a pedal fairly often, the ease of changing the connection (the tie-up) is very important. Some manufacturers use string devices to make the tie-up; others use metal hooks.

At the front side of the loom, usually the right side, is another pedal, called the brake pedal. When the weaver depresses the brake pedal, it releases the ratchet that is holding the cloth beam tight, and allows the warp to be moved forward. There is a lever attached to the front ratchet, which is attached to the cloth beam, and the weaver can move this ratchet to roll the cloth forward onto the cloth beam. A weaver needs the ratchet on the warp beam to fall back into place as soon as the brake pedal is released, so she can use the front ratchet and tension the warp so weaving can proceed.

Most looms also have cloth aprons attached to both the warp beam and cloth beam. They act as extensions for the warp so there won't be too much yarn wastage at the beginning and end of the weaving. Strings can be used instead of cloth aprons.

When a loom is "dressed" with a warp, the warp is wound evenly on the warp beam, passes over the back beam, through the eyes of the heddles on the shafts, through the dents of the reed in the beater, over the front beam, and then is tied to the cloth beam. Each individual warp end passes through a different heddle, and its path should be straight from back to front. The reed not only acts as a comb to beat the weft into the cloth, it also acts to keep the warp threads in order and spaced out to their required width.

Jack-type looms

Card weaving, also known as tablet weaving, is a very ancient process. Here square cards have holes near each corner, and a warp end is threaded through each hole. When the weaver puts tension on the threaded warp, a shed forms between the ends on the two top holes and those in the bottom holes. After a weft is inserted, the cards are turned, either forward or backward, and a new shed is created. Amazingly intricate narrow bands have been woven with tablets (sometimes they are triangular or hexagonal), including Buddhist prayer bands that were woven in Burma until the early twentieth century. Card weaving can also be done using an inkle loom (band loom, a small loom that allows for a tubular warp that can be moved as weaving proceeds), or just tensioning the warp between two stationary posts or C-clamps.

Horizontal ground-loom

A dobby loom is a modified shaft loom, which uses a sequence of pegged bars to make the lifts for weaving. When the textile industry embraced the industrial revolution, electrical dobby looms and cam looms wove most of the simple fabric. These looms have now given way to computerized versions of them that can weave more than 750 picks per minute. Many handweavers also use computerized dobby looms for their weaving.

See alsoWeave, Jacquard; Weaving; Weaving, Machinery .

bibliography

Barber, E. J. W. Prehistoric Textiles. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Broudy, Eric. The Book of Looms. Hanover, N.H: Brown University Press: 1979.

Chandler, Deborah. Learning to Weave. Loveland, Colo.: Interweave Press, Inc., 1984.

Fannin, Allen A. Handloom Weaving Technology. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1979.

Hecht, Ann. The Art of the Loom. New York: Rizzoli, 1989.

Roth, H. Ling. Studies in Primitive Looms. McMinnville, Ore.: Robin and Russ Handweavers, 1981. Reprint of original edition published in 1918.

Ziek de Rodriguez, Judith, and Nona M. Ziek. Weaving on a Backstrap Loom. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1978.

Bhakti Ziek

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