Museum of Science and Industry starts search for fruits of the loom from Rochdale revolution

By Culture24 Staff | 12 November 2010
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a photo of an old loom machine
Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry is appealing for workers who were employed in a Lancashire warehouse which made noses for Concorde planes to come forward as part of the masterplan for its new Revolution Manchester gallery.

The industrial centre is aiming to recreate Rochdale’s example of the Jacquard loom, a manufacturing machine which revolutionised the creation of complex patterns at the start of the 19th century.

It was originally used to weave cotton calico in a warehouse belonging to local outfit Fothergill & Harvey on the outskirts of the town, but in the 1950s the company began weaving fiberglass to cover the inside cone of the Ferranti Airpass fighter jet, and the success of their exploits was eventually rewarded by a commission to create moulds for Concorde designs.

“The Jacquard loom is a fantastic example of how the Manchester textile industry was able to adapt to changing times,” says curator Adam Daber.

“We are currently conserving the loom in time for the new gallery, but we need more information to interpret it correctly.

“Any information about how the Jacquard fitted onto the loom, its height and orientation, or photographs of the weaving sheds showing the Jacquard mechanism would really help us display and interpret the object accurately.”

Conservators want the loom, which was made by Butterworth & Dickinson of Burnley in the early 20th century, to appear as if it was operated recently. The gallery is scheduled to open in December as part of an £8.5 million redevelopment.

Email Adam Daber or call him on 0161 606 0118 if you have any memories of the loom.
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