Weaving power loom shuttle


Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

One of five power loom shuttles, by J. Harrison and Sons, Blackburn, Lancashire, England, 1858-1862.

Shuttles like these were essential to Britain’s cotton industry. A shuttle carries yarn – the weft – back and forth across a loom, weaving cloth as it passes over and under the warp threads. From the early 19th century armies of mill workers followed the shuttles on their power looms back and forth, deftly catching them and replacing spent spools to keep the loom running and contracting chronic diseases from ‘kissing the shuttle’ to suck thread through the eyehole.

These boxwood shuttles only differ from a hand loom shuttle because they do not have rollers. Plus, the spring tongue is hinged like a pocket-knife, so that it projects out from the mortise when inserting a fresh cop of yarn. This improvement dated from the early 19th century: allowing a cop of greater length to be used.


Textiles Machinery
Object Number:
box (wood), complete and steel (metal)
  • component - object
J. Harrison and Sons

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.