Search our collection
Machinery and other objects - from carding engines and looms to printing blocks and fabric specimens - tell the story of Britain's role in textile manufacturing from the Industrial Revolution onwards.
Arkwright's water frame, 1775.
Improved spinning machine (water frame), by Sir Richard Arkwright, England, 1775.
Machine used for covering wires with silk and cotton, 1837
Machine used for covering wires with silk and cotton for electrical purposes, made by W T Henley, Whitechapel, London, England, 1837
Sewing machine by Elias Howe
Lockstitch sewing machine by Elias Howe, Lowell, Massachusetts, United States, made about 1846, the first sewing machine to be brought to England from America in that year.
Old Spitalfields hand loom with jacquard mechanism
Old Spitalfields hand loom with jacquard mechanism.
Arkwright's prototype spinning machine, 1769.
Original spinning machine, Sir Richard Arkwright and John Kay, England, 1769.
Portable spinning wheel, labelled 'James Webster,
Portable spinning wheel, labelled 'James Webster, clockmaker, Salop', Mardol, Shrewsbury, England, 1745-1790.
Copy of Thimonnier's chain-stitch sewing machine, 1830.
Copy of Barthelemy Thimonnier's chain stitch sewing machine, first invented in 1830.
Singer 'New Family' sewing machine, 1865-1883.
The Singer 'New Family' lockstitch sewing machine, made between 1865 and 1883.
Model of a Power loom for plain weaving
Model, scale 1:3, of a power loom for simple plain weaving made by Messrs. Sevill and Woolstenhulme, Oldham, Manchester, England, 1857. This loom gives the most elementary kind of weaving in which weft crosses over and under the warps alternately and was the type used extensively for calico weaving. There is an arrangement for stopping the loom automatically if the shuttle does not reach its box after each pick, and if the weft should break then a weft fork device which is normally balanced to rest on the unbroken thread falls and operates cut off machinery to stop the loom.
Textile printing block, rectangular
1760-1775 probable date
Textile printing block of irregular rectangular shape, boxwood faced design with some use of metal pins; ornate column with large flowers arranged around it and probably used for soft furnishing. Made in England, probably c. 1760-1775.
Early Wheeler and Wilson hand-powered lock stitch sewing mac
Early Wheeler and Wilson hand-powered lock stitch sewing machine of a design of about 1867; this model was made around 1885.
Moldacot pocket sewing machine, 1887.
Moldacot patent lockstitch sewing machine with accessories in tin case, by the Moldacot Pocket Sewing Machine Company, London, England, 1886-1887.
Model of a Jacquard loom
Model of a Jacquard loom (Scale 1:2), unknown maker, 1867.
The first Wheeler and Wilson sewing machine, 1866.
Wheeler and Wilson lock stitch sewing machine, type No.1. The first machine with rotary hook and four motion feed patented by Allen B. Wilson 1851 and 1854, and made in 1866.
Power loom manufactured by J. Harrison and Son, Blackburn, England and fitted with the loose reed emergency stop mechanism of 1842. Exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and subsequently modified by the makers with design changes up to 1858.
Saint's sewing machine, 1874.
Saint's chain stitch sewing machine made from drawings contained in a patent granted to Thomas Saint in 1790, by Newton Wilson and Co., 1874.
Example of original pattern Singer sewing machine of 1851, made c. 1853.
Singer Lockstitch sewing machine model of 1851, by I. M. Singer and Company or the Singer Manufacturing Company, Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 1851-1855
Carding machine by Arkwright, 1775, believed to be from Cromford Mill
Carding machine by Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1792), England, 1771-1780. Believed to be from Cromford Mill, Derbyshire.
A la memoire de J.M. Jacquard
Jacquard-woven picture "A la memoire de J.M. Jacquard" after the original by C. Bonnefond, in frame 20" x 14", frame 31" x 27", 1839
The 'Little Wanzer' lock stitch sewing machine, 1867-1873.
The 'Little Wanzer' lock stitch sewing machine, by the Wanzer Sewing Machine Company Ltd. (London), Great Portland Street, London, England, 1867-1873.
MP Handy Guide for knitting and crochet work, reg.
MP Handy Guide for knitting and crochet work, reg. design No. 813814; and knitting needle gauge, reg. design no. 838984. The two items were sold as a set. The guide is used by the knitter to record progress of knitting in respect of casting on/off, number of rows knitted etc. The needle gauge is used to ascertain knitting needle diameter and as a short tape measure.
Weaving power loom shuttle
One of five power loom shuttles, by J. Harrison and Sons, Blackburn, Lancashire, England, 1858-1862.
Weir sewing machine, 1872.
J.Weir's chain stitch sewing machine, model no. 55S of 1872.
Closed spindle type bobbin winder for lace, with s
Closed spindle type bobbin winder for lace, with seven bobbins and a paper tape.
Singer double-thread chainstitch glove sewing machine
Singer double-thread chainstitch glove sewing machine, c. 1917.
Judkin's lock-stitch sewing machine, 1851.
Reproduction of Judkin's lockstitch sewing machine made by Platt Bros & Co Ltd., Oldham, Manchester, England, shown at 1851 Exhibition.
Specimen of artificial silk
Early specimen of artificial silk made by Sir Joseph Swan, 1883; crocheted/embroidered by Lady Swan to form a border to a handkerchief, for display at Exhibition of Inventions, London 1885.
Coptic textile quilted blanket of linen with motif
Coptic textile quilted blanket of linen with motifs (blue, red and brown dancers), with blue/brown borders and remains of fringe, badly stained
A Singer model 66 lock stitch oscillating hook sewing machin
Model 66 lock stitch oscillating hook sewing machine,Branded 'Twentieth century', sectioned and mounted above a mirror, Singer Manufacturing Company, 1908-1909.
Model of strand making machine for cotton rope wit
Model of strand making machine for cotton rope with 49 reel frame, unknown maker.
Treadle sewing machine sold by Harris Ltd, a Londo
Treadle sewing machine sold by Harris Ltd, a London retail firm. Harris purchased their machines from others (in this case, the National Sewing Machine Company of Illinois) and then put their own name on them for sale. This was a common practise in the UK and elsewhere.
Electric circuit board associated with a Singer Futura sewing machine
Electric circuit board associated with a Singer Futura sewing machine, by Singer Manufacturing Company, Germany, 1976
Arkwright's Wrap-reel Winding Wheel, English, 1769-1775
Original wrap-reel or winding wheel used at Sir Richard Arkwright's mill and probably made by John Kay, Cromford, Derbyshire, England, 1769-1775.
Model of Brunel's cotton winding machine.
Machine for winding cotton into balls, invented by Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, unsigned, United Kingdom, 1800-1802. The first machine made was used at Strutts Cotton Mill. Belper.
Willcox and Gibbs chain-stitch sewing machine, c 1914.
Willcox and Gibbs chain stitch sewing machine, c. 1914 model.
Ring spinning frame, 1926.
Portion of a ring spinning frame of 44 spindles (originally 400) made by Dobson & Barlow Ltd., 1926, one side of which has been converted in 1963 to the Casablancas high draft system; object is complete with spares for conversion to original state.
Remington Arms Company lock-stitch sewing machine, 1870.
Original Remington Arms lock-stitch sewing machine head: the 'Empire' model of 1870, by the Remington Arms Company, Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 1870.
Grover and Baker two-thread chain-stitch sewing machine, 1871.
Grover and Baker two-thread chain stitch sewing machine, 1871, an improved version of an 1851 model.
Thomas lock-stitch sewing machine, c 1853.
Early lock-stitch sewing machine made in accordance with W.F. Thomas's patent of 1853
Coloured drawing depicting Lombe's silk throwing m
Coloured drawing depicting Lombe's silk throwing machine, scale 1:16, made at the Science Museum, London, England, 1857.
Cardboard box associated with the Singer model 319K lock stitch electric sewing machine
Cardboard box associated with the Singer model 319K lock stitch electric sewing machine, by the Singer Manufacturing Company, Kilbowie, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, 1948-1958. Box contains eleven small metal components
Model (scale unknown) of a contemporary ribbon loo
Model (scale unknown) of a contemporary ribbon loom using the Jacquard principles, complete with accessories, designed and made by James Heywood, Coventry, England, 1870.
Remains of the models of silk machinery introduced by Sir Thomas Lombe
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.
Textile printing block, wood, rectangular, with a
Textile printing block, wood, rectangular, with a boxwood face, pins and metal strips forming a fern pattern. Made in England, 1750-1830.
Printing block, 1976.
Relief moulded decoration made by methods used for textile printing blocks
Child's chain stitch Singer model 20 sewing machine first in
Child's chain stitch Singer model 20 sewing machine first introduced in 1910.
Model of a handloom (as used previous to the invention of the fly shuttle in 1733)
Model of a handloom (as used previous to the invention of the fly shuttle in 1733), made 1730-1800.
Bobbin Box of a Northrop single-shuttle 'S' loom
Bobbin box belonging to a Northrop single-shuttle 'S' loom with automatic bobbin insertion, 1939.