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The history of weaving machine

The history of weaving machine

Issue Time:2021-07-19
The history of weaving machine
The history of mechanization in weaving is full of stories of inventors whose ideas were untimely or impractical. The persistence of inventors is a testament to the importance of cloth in our culture and the lucrative nature of the business. Mechanization of the weaving process began in earnest in the eighteenth century. Before the development of automation, a weaver was needed to operate a loom, and an assistant was necessary when weaving a complex pattern. There were a few developments before 1700, but none of significance or lasting influence. One problem faced by inventors was the fierce opposition of textile workers, who resented any innovation that sped up the production capacity of individuals and thus reduced the number of weavers needed. Improvements in the speed of weaving during the 18th century were driven by the invention of spinning machines, which produced the yarn needed for weaving. Until the introduction of mechanical spinning, the output of three to four spinners was necessary to fully employ one weaver. The acceptance of advances in weaving technology was also aided by the continuous improvement of spinning and cloth finishing techniques. The first significant step towards automated weaving came with the invention of the flying shuttle by John Kay in 1733 The flying shuttle was set in motion by the weaver pulling a string or handle that moved the shuttle across the width of the cloth. This not only sped up the weaving fourfold, but also allowed the weaver to produce cloth wider than his arm's reach.

The first power loom
In 1785, a clergyman named Edmund Cartwright patented the first power loom. It was powered first by an ox, then by the new steam engine patented by James Watt in 1769. Cartwright's loom was slow to catch on, but by the 1830s versions of his loom allowed a weaver and an assistant to operate four looms simultaneously. This machine was limited to the production of plain textiles.

Automated fabric production
Automation of patterned fabric production began with the 1804 invention of Joseph Marie Jacquard His so-called Jacquard mechanism could be mounted on any loom and controlled the lifting of the warp threads that created the pattern of the fabric. Previously, complex patterns had to be set up in advance on a loom and required an assistant to operate, but the Jacquard attachment allowed a weaver to control the shuttle and pattern mechanism alone. Punch cards controlled the lift of the warp pattern yarns and a pattern could be changed very quickly by changing the punch cards corresponding to a particular pattern. This basic system is still in use in the early twenty-first century.

Automatic Shuttle Change machine
Power loom 1882
In 1835, the first automatic shuttle change machine allowed the automatic entry of different colored weft threads into the weaving mill. In 1895, the automatic pirn change (weft change) was invented by J. H. Northrop. It was not until the 1950s that automatic weft winding directly on the weaving machine became commercially viable. It was introduced by Leesona Company and became known as the "Unifil" system.

Shuttleless looms
Shuttleless looms appeared in the mid-20th century and used various systems: rapier, rapier and water or air jet. Rapier looms use a small projectile that picks up a weft thread from a side supply and carries it to the other side; rapier looms use a long, thin rod that travels from one side and grabs a weft thread, which it pulls across on the way back (there are single and double rapier looms; the double rapiers meet in the middle and deliver the weft thread); jet looms use a jet of air or water to propel the weft thread from one side to the other. Jet looms have the advantage of being particularly fast and can weave widths up to 85 inches. The rapier loom has the oldest history, as the concept appears in a 1678 patent; the modern rapier loom was introduced by Dornier in Germany in 1963. A precursor to the modern air-jet loom first appeared in England in the 1860s, but the idea was finally commercially successful in the 1950s, introduced by Max Paabo of Sweden. The projectile loom (rapier loom) was invented in Switzerland in 1924 by Sulzer Brothers, but did not come into commercial use until 1953.

Fabrics made from shuttleless looms do not have selvedges because the weft thread is not a continuous yarn. The edges can be sealed with heat or resin. Until recently, these machines were limited to high volume weaving. Shuttle looms are still used for weaving basic constructions in low-wage countries and for special fabrics, which still make up a large part of the market.

Multiphase loom
In the 1970s, the multiphase loom was introduced, where all actions of the loom take place simultaneously. There are two types of multiphase looms: Wave shed looms, where the shed changes across the width of the textile while the weft is running, and parallel shed looms, where multiple trays form along the selvage.

Rapier loom, a weftless loom in which the weft thread is carried through the shed of warp threads to the other side of the loom by fingerlike carriers called rapiers. One type has a single long rapier that extends across the width of the loom to carry the weft thread to the other side.

This handloom was used to weave silk at Stonehouse in Lanarkshire in the 19th century. It has a jacquard attachment which can be used to weave complex patterns. The punched cards used in the Jacquard mechanism laid the foundation for modern computer programming.