ASME-Landmark:19th Century Textile Tools and Machinery Collection


During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, textile manufacture was the catalyst for the Industrial Revolution in America. It was the leading edge in the transformation from an agricultural to a manufacturing economy and started the move of significant numbers of people from rural areas to urban centers. With industrialization came a change in the way people worked. No longer controlled by natural rhythms, the workday demanded a life governed by the factory bell. On the consumer side, industrialization transformed textiles from one of a person's most valuable possessions to a product widely available at incredibly low prices.

For more than a century, textile mills in Great Britain and the United States dominated textile production and led the industrial revolution in both Europe and North America. The collections of the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) record the interactions of textile machinery and materials with inventors, managers, workers, and consumers. The wealth of pre-industrial tools and industrial machinery within the Museum provide a comprehensive account of the changes in textile production in America, from small home and workshop equipment to large factory production machinery, as well as specialty tools, testing equipment, and workplace artifacts.

There are more than 250 spinning wheels and more than 300 examples of industrial-era textile machinery at ATHM. Among the highlights are: a Cotton Gin, Prattville, Ala., between 1873 and 1899; an Artemus Dryden Woolen Card, Holden, Mass., circa 1825; a Four-part Wool Card Line, Bridesburg, Penn., c. 1870; a Throstle Frame, Lowell, Mass., c. 1835; and an M.A. Furbush & Son Power Loom, Philadelphia, Penn., c. 1870. See ASME website for more information