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