Tour the Historic Boott Cotton Mills

Boott Cotton Mills 1920's weave room

Boott Cotton Mills 1920’s weave room

After attending Convergence I spent a few days with my husband traveling. One of the stops was to Lowell, MA. I’ve been fascinated with history as well as textiles most of my life.  Of course a stop at the Lowell National Historical Park was necessary. The park provides  an up close view of textile production in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

Trolley Car at Lowell NP

First we rode the rails, on a reproduction Trolley car from the visitor center to the Boott Cotton Mills. The walk would have been about 15 mins, but the free ride was  much more fun.  A part of the former mill now houses a working 1920’s weave room, and a museum with interactive exhibits and video programs. DSCN0172 The 1920’s weave room shown at the top, features operating power looms. These are restored  Draper Model E. looms (ca. 1913 ).  When running they create  a racket, so ear plugs are supplied. One can only imagine how noisy it would be with multiple floors of looms all running at the same time.  No wonder so many textile workers became deaf. Some of these looms were weaving dish towel fabric  sold in bulk or as finished towels at the gift shop. These towels could be found in most American homes at one time.  The  towels are being woven  plain or with different stripe colors and number of stripes. I now have 2 of these towels in my home. Reminders of the trip.

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Another Draper Loom weaving dish towels

Sadly the Boott Cotton Mills  closed in 1954. The photo shows a Draper E loom weaving cotton towel fabric at the Bootts Mill.

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7 responses to “Tour the Historic Boott Cotton Mills

  1. Sounds like a great field trip. We went to a mill in England, they hired deaf people! Kodak hired the blind!

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  2. What a great experience

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  3. I am green with envy. Sounds like it was quite a fun place to visit.

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  4. So glad you visited the mill. These visits gives us an insight to how the weaving industry operated–can you just imagine the noise? The atmosphere filled with floating cotton fluff that filled the workers’ lungs? It must be the same way today in the weaving industry.
    We have visited couple of these mills and I’m always fascinated with the operations!

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    • Cheryl, I can only imagine the dust and lint produced in these factories. Just the lint one can produce in weaving a few yards of fabric on our hand looms can be imense. I went through the Slater Mill in Pawtucket also and might write about that also eventually.

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