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

1718 in Derby and London

Remains of the models of silk machinery introduced from Italy by Sir Thomas Lombe, 1718, and two coloured drawings made at the Science Museum, London, England.

In 1718 Thomas Lombe was granted a patent for a method of spinning silk 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 he was awarded 14,000 guineas by the government 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. The drawing is a modern copy of a lost original, illustrating the complete machine.

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:
wood and incomplete
overall: 150 x 310 x 150 mm
model - representation
Tower of London