Remains of the models of silk machinery introduced by Sir Thomas Lombe

1732 in Derby

Remains of the models of silk machinery introduced from Italy by Sir Thomas Lombe, Derby, England, c. 1732; the remains being: a reel, three spindles with bobbins and flyers and a segment of a circular frame, all half size.

This model, made to scale 1:2, is the remains of silk machinery introduced by Thomas Lombe. In 1718 Thomas Lombe was granted a patent for a method of preparing silk yarn by machinery, said to be based on information that his half-brother John had brought from Italy. Soon afterwards he began manufacture in Derby. In 1732 his request to have the period of the patent extended was refused, but he was awarded £14,000 on condition that he should deposit models of his machines for reference. These fragments are what remains of a model which was placed in the Tower of London in 1732. This machine performed the operation known as 'throwing'; a number of silk filaments, having been wound together ('doubled') onto each bobbin, were drawn off it again onto the reel as the bobbin rotated, so that the filaments became twisted together.


Textiles Machinery
Object Number:
overall: 131.8898 x 74.8031 x 198.8189 in.; 335 x 190 x 505 cm
silk machinery model
Tower of London